Subtitled, Ripping Yarns

Page 1

Page 2 can be access here

Updated 14 March,2013

There are other Memories; these can be found under the
author's name in the site index page.

Terence Alexander Chris Allen Richard Bennison
Graham Brown Alastair Buchan Kevin Cheeseright
Don Clapham Paul Cooper Ian Clark
John B Crowther Richard (Dick) Cullen Tony Eden
Dennis M Guy Robin Hall John Horner
Frances Judge Tony Lai Michael Levine
Brian Lythall Hugh Lythall Iain McRither
John Perrett Gerald Smith Paul Thompson
Colin Waudby 'Bill' Malcolm Webster David Schofield
Shaz Crompton
on behalf od Dave Coles

Updated 12 November,2018

Johm Perrett

Do you remember the end-of-Term or "Breaking Up" ceremonies? "Three Cheers for the Headmaster, Mr Cass Senior, the staff" etc and then last of all, the Head Prefect calling for "Three Cheers for the holidays!" and the loud cheering that produced!

Charlie was very modern in some ways, and knew that we all had girlfriends at Highfield, Belmont and so on. He had no objection to us going out and meeting them but warned us to be "sensible" - whatever that was!

Two of Charlie's expressions that always made us laugh, though not in front of him, of course: used regularly was "You incredible fool!", but the one that made Colin Taylor and I crack up was when we had over-stepped some mark or other, Charlie would line us up and we knew that he would end the diatribe with, "I give you all these little concessions and all you do is abuse them!"

Tommy Forsythe took us for English Literature and History. His lessons consisted of laboriously writing out the lesson in beautiful copperplate on the blackboard which we would then spend the rest of the lesson copying down word for word. I guess the OHP and photocopier ruined his style completely.

Harold Hessay commenced every sentence, indeed every phrase with, "Generally speaking." We used to take it in turns to count the number of times he said "Generally speaking." in a lesson; I seem to remember we got up into the thirties.
I cannot even remember what he taught us though.

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Kevin Cheeseright

He was always known as "fat man" when out of ear shot or "Charlie" when he could hear; he loved his nickname "Charlie".
(Note by Tony Eden: The world's second atomic bomb used in combat looked like a large pumpkin with fins and was named Fat Man after Great Britain's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill).
Charlie swearing, "Oh Lore, Balley Lore".

The main aircraft he flew in 1917/18 was the Sopwith Dolphin. His famous line when he learnt to fly (in an Avro 504K) and obtained his wings was, "Cass, I want you take off, loop, roll and land", which he did and obtained his wings. He also maintains he was in the air when the Royal Flying Corps became the Royal Air Force in 1918. He crashed his Sopwith Dolphin in France and survived because he remembered what he was told and aim his aircraft directly for a shell hole in the ground. As the aircraft plunged into the shell hole on the ground, the wings would strike the ground before the nose of the aircraft hit the foot of the shell hole, slowing the aircraft sufficiently.

Charlie had a fixation for collecting "Bobs", the old one shilling piece, and the value of "£26 and 8 pence" which he stated with a smile - a bit like the meaning of life, this was the value of anything when he didn't know the true value. He told me the origins of his muse, but I was young, the answer was pretty dull and therefore I forget. He kept a jar full of shilling pieces in the cupboard behind his desk. Quite often he would send one or two of the senior boys down to the bank for some cash (cheque duly signed), for Friday pocket money, etc., and it was up to the boy in charge to specify the denominations. I, smart boy made sure that there were more shilling pieces in the break-down than was necessary. This made Charlie happy, when after the Friday night pocket money feeding frenzy was over, there were spare "Bobs". Sometimes, he gave you a shilling as a reward. If you did any jobs for Charlie, he always paid you. We did a lot of odd jobs.

Matron fell down the stairs one day, broke both her legs and never returned; her room was never reused.
(Note by Tony Eden: I couldn't resist including that memory!).
Charlie attracted a very strange bunch of people, and in their own way, they added to the magic of the place. For instance, the Boiler Room; there were two characters that appeared there every working day (especially in winter). Two Road Sweepers, named Jimmy Topham and I think Harold (forgotten the surname). They had their elevensies and lunch there. Jimmy must have been in his late 60's but had a teenagers spring in his step. Charlie treated the boiler and stoked it as though it were a railway engine. He taught everyone the knack of shovelling coke into the boiler; shame that there was no qualification for this subject at that time, but there is now more than likely. Otherwise, we might have left with a few more certificates.

Not strictly a room, but an area that played a significant part in all our lives, was the Stray. We lived on that grass, playing football (not only on Thursday's but every evening and all day Saturday and Sunday), taking photographs of all the girls and developing the photos back at Norwood, studying/revision (of sorts anyway), as a general meeting place, parties, the fun fair, etc.

Oh those Science Labs, and the great out of hours experiments (many of those were with Hugh Lythall)!

The basement was where we had our pop bands, and the Coffee Bar. The Coffee Bar was a very important meeting place. Dave Guest's Tuck Shop (under the stairs at the boy's entrance). This was a life saver (and completely ruined my teeth). The TV room - Top of the Pops, Casius Clay fights, man lands on the moon, freezing to death unless you sat by the fire. The dorms themselves with their useless storage heaters, the dirty washing boxes, etc.

Being late was a total no-no. As you know, time keeping was everything. The same with the dinner gong, 3 minutes, two minutes and 1 minute gongs before each and every meal (other than 4 o'clock tea). His punctuality has never left me. 25 years after leaving Norwood, I arranged to met an old boy at a suitable half point for us both (at a local railway station as it happens). We both turned into the car park, of this middle of no-where railway station, at exactly the same time. We both laughed as the time keeping had stayed with us both.

Charlie used to have a picture in the Lounge of the first two boys of the school and I remember the picture well.

For a Boarder, Friday night, pocket money night. Weekend book - must declare weekend movements - pictures, staying in or whatever activity you are to be involved and what time you are expected back. always sat up right in the chair furthest from the fire.

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By Paul Cooper

Charlie was certainly never married. I remember him saying good-humouredly to me that he'd always be a bachelor but seeing a sadness in his eye, even at the age of 10.

I also remember in the front room, which would, if you were looking out in the hall towards the front door, be to the left hand front corner of the building on the corner of Leeds Road where there would be music exams taken I believe the exams were part of London School of Music. There was a highly polished Bechstein and a Steinway in the room along with music stands and the boys were told that whenever they went into that part of the building to tiptoe, especially when they heard music being played which seemed quite regularly. All kinds of musical instrument were heard but unappreciated by the boys who were more into the Beatles than Bach.
Regarding the above, see the page
for the Norwood Music Summer School
The Sopwith Camel prop was on his bedroom wall along with the odd de-activated (I hope) pyrotechnic and three huge weather balloons which engulfed his bed. Every night before I went to bed, we'd sit in his bedroom and have coffee and chocolate biscuits (which he was rather partial too - Victoria Assorted, I seem to remember) and he'd have me blow up a bit (a very small bit) of one balloon in order to strengthen my lungs.

Updated 11 December,2006

Regarding the 1966 Mikado, there were either two or 3 performances and at one of them (I think the last one) I was so worried about not hitting the high notes on "The sun whose rays" I forgot a cue to enter from stage right and I could hear a silence and then people whispering "where's Yum-yum, where is she?". I remember running up from back-stage and then ad-libbing something for which I got a round of applause immediately afterwards, and at the end of the performance three half-pound boxes of chocolates (All Gold, Black Magic and one other) from I think the Mayor or some other civil dignitary. I remember polishing off a whole box before the end of the night and feeling decidedly queasy afterwards.

I remember the basement coffee bar opening up in 1964 along with (I think a Dansette record player, which was able to stack several records at once and we'd always put too many records on it which would make the records slip). That memory now means that I can narrow down my year of entry to Norwood College to 1964 (which I'd forgotten previously), which would make me 8 years of age when I entered as a boarder.

Through that coffee bar in 1968/9 I was introduced to the music of Leonard Cohen (a Canadian poet/singer who some have described unkindly as being somewhat sombre) and he became a great favourite of mine. Who would have known then that 30 years later I'd meet him at my place of work while I was having lunch in the B.B.C.'s canteen (if he wasn't sombre before eating there, he certainly would have been afterwards).

Other memories were of Charlie's fondness of large triangular plain chocolate-coated wafer biscuits (were they called Victoria biscuits?) which he kept in a tin and I remember that if I was feeling particularly greedy, I'd get him talking on the subject of trains and he'd become even more generous than he already was with them.

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By Ian Clark

The Boys Entrance in Tewit Well Avenue was the side entrance that led in to the classroom and gym part of the school. I believe it was down these entrance steps that Mrs Collinson, Matron, fell and broke her legs never to return.

Boarders queued for meals near the Tewit Well Ave entrance listening for the gong that was at the far end of the corridor before the main school entrance hall.

Charlie had a passion for mnemonics - aids to the memory. E.g. his mnemonic for the spelling of 'mnemonic' was 'mmmmmmm nemonic' to remind one that it started with an m - good stuff eh and I've never forgotten it! A couple of other favourites to be said with a rhythm and emphasis on the upper case: isosceles ' i-s-o-s-C-e-l-e-s' parallelogram p-a-r-a- DOUBLE-L -e-l-o-g-r-a-m - BANG" odd but it works. And many more I'm sure can be added to this list . . .

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By John B Crowther

When giving a new boy a choice of two things to do and the boy's reply was "I'm not bothered, Sir" - the rejoinder would be "Not bothered boy! You should be bothered!"

Harold Hessay, or Horsey Hessay as we nick-named him, would get well into his lesson then tell us to read up on some subject or other, and then he would leave us to it. We soon discovered that his absence from the class was necessitated by a visit to the toilet for a cigarette which he seemed unable to manage without for very long. Having return to our classroom, various pupils would ask to go to the toilet themselves. This was, understandably, refused until he was quite sure that all of the cigarette smoke had dissipated, he having carefully remembered, of course, to leave the toilet window open when he left.

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By Tony Eden

To this day I still remember
p a r a DOUBLE-L e ELL o g r a m
m e d EYE t e DOUBLE-ARE a n, e a n
and the rhythm that accompanied the enunciation. This was a terrific way of leaning the spelling of words; the problem was that we all remembered the examples he gave but never invented any of our own!

"Bosh, boy! Bosh!" roared Charlie at the wrong response from a boy.

"Padding! You don't need that in your essay, its padding!"

Charlie's definition of Luggage: that which is lugged.

My Diary for 6 February,1952, says, "King died. Got to know at 12 o'clock at school". I can still visualise being in 3A (the one with the Sopwith propeller over the doorframe and all the Indian Clubs hanging on the wall), and Charlie entering to interrupt the class to announce the news that he had just heard on the wireless.
My first thought was, "New postage stamps to show a Queen instead of the King!" Like many boys in those days, I was a keen stamp collector; these days you are a philatelist - then you collected stamps.
24 years later my Mother was writing her story for me and at 15 (1936) she recalled, "I remember hearing on the wireless that King George V had died. I thought the King and Queen wore their crowns all day long, and I pictured the King's crown falling off when he died."
Then 50 years on, in 2002, the Royal Mail (ie the Post Office) reminded us all of this by re-issuing these stamps including current New Pence denominations - here is one of the orginals, a tuppence'apny one.

The daft and weird things that appear in my Diary:

      16 January,1954: Put on Railway Club sub-committee. (sounds like the coat of many colours).

      8 June,1955: A woman came into the geography lecture in the morning. (Hmm)

      4 July,1955: Mr Cass took us for geometry. At 4 o'clock went to Smith's house and he showed me some of his tricks. (Of the conjuring type I think).

      15 July,1955: In the afternoon some men came to the school to take some recordings of school noises for a play next week at the opera house. (The mind boggles).

When I was about 12, Miss Besant started a postal system at Christmas; we made a Post Box from an old cardboard box then pupils could post Christmas cards to one another in it.

There was a large vaulting horse in the basement, far too big for any of us to use, but it had a highly polished leather "rump" that we used to scramble over.

Harold Hessay taught Biology “Nature Study” but I remember one day he was standing in for English Lit and we were reading Les Miserables. He quoted, “Jean val Jean” in his nasal, thick Yorkshire voice and hands shot up, “Please Sir, It is “Shon val shon” “That’s right lad, that’s right, just seeing if you were awake!"

When Charlie bought the property next door, no.3 Leeds Rd, (that is, nearer to the town centre) and joined them together, he moved his study to the first floor of that, on the right looking over Leeds Rd. The stairwell was quite enormous and he suspended a large weather balloon in this space, painted with the continents. At the first floor landing was a small store and here he had a box full of these balloons.
The weather balloons became a special interest to me; during my career I was in The Met.Office and responsible for stock control of instruments etc for the several hundred outstations. That meant I had to manage the stock on many things including the various sizes of balloon! (They were actually called Radio Sonde Balloons). I met up with the manufacturers, Totex, from Japan.

Lines, not railway but written. "Do 50 lines of so-and-so!" was a response from Freddie Drake or another teacher for some silly misdemeanour. Curiously, the lines were never collected but some of us more timid boys actually did write them out.

The Gilbert & Sullivan operas were performed in the late '40s and in the 50's. Some were performed in the theatre of the Old Swan Hotel. Luckily I did not get any more involved than turning the music paper for Charlie; I could not read music and relied on a nod from him when to turn a page. Unfortunately, he had a habit of nodding with the music so I think I must have got to page 20 when he was still fiddling page 2.

With only a hundred or so boys Charlie got to know every one of us and with me being there from the age of five, by the time I was 13 or so he knew me very well. And, I think, he Liked and trusted me. I became a JHM, then SHM then Prefect in quick succession, then was elected to the Prefects' Council to become, in my last year the Senior Prefect and, in effect, Head Boy. The Prefects' Council met once a week in Charlie's study but I can't remember what we discussed. If it was not 'Eden', then it was usually 'Anthony' when Charlie addressed me. Because of the small number of boys, advancement through the school seemed to take place in groups; instead of finding yourself a new Prefect amongst a load of established ones, my little group seemed to move forward together. Suddenly we were Prefects, taking over the role from elders, and taking their metal Lockers. It was those Lockers at the top of the starirs that we had our eye on and when the day came to claim ours we were made. 5uddenly we were in charge. Almost at the same time, the end came looming up; the dreaded age of 16 when GCEs were to be taken, then departure.

During my last year at Norwood, Charlie gave me the job of looking after a new arrival, Shamim Ahmed from Karachi in Pakistan. Shamim was allocated his own room on the top floor of no.3 Leeds Rd and we spent hours there bringing him up to speed on a variety of subjects. At other times, Charlie set us mock exams in the Lounge. As a stamp collector, I knew that Pakistan was a 'new' country; it was established as a British Dominion in 1947, only nine years prior to Shamim's arrival at Norwood, as a result of the partition of British India. At that time Karachi was the capital of Pakistan.

During the Annual Sports Day prize-giving ceremony of 1952, my name was suddenly called out, "Anthony Eden, winner of the Coronation Cup". In a daze I walked up, took the cup from the Mayor's daughter (an adult) and walked back wondering, "What the h… is this for?"
Well, I held it for a year and on the day it was due to be returned my Mother took it from its shelf, dropped it and caused an enormous dent - the cup was about 15" high, and silver. She quickly went to Ogden's in Harrogate and they repaired the damage!
John Perrett was an earlier holder of the cup (safely this time) in 1945 and he too wondered what it was for when he was presented with the monstrous thing. I wonder what happenne o it when Norwood closed?

Staff Sergeant Major Styan was the part-time gym master; a short, athletic chap, very military, but very nice. He taught us Indian Club swinging to music played on a gramophone with a 78rmp record - I can hear the tune now - with him twirling expertly away in front of us and us, well, we did our best just to keep hold of the wretched things! This all took place in the Playground. My mind would be taken off the club swinging occasionally as a jet fighter (probably from RAF Linton-on-Ouse) went over. These would have been Gloster Meteors, North American Sabres or Hawker Hunters. As for civil airlines, well, those were things you saw at London Airport and not in the depths of Yorkshire.

At morning break time, a small van turned up to sell ice-cream by the steps in Tewit Well Avenue and there was always a rush to buy some; this was at a time when ice-cream was not generally on sale in the shops. Indeed, one of shops in Leeds Rd had a delivery on a Thursday lunch time so that shows how rare it was! I am informed by John Horner that the ice-cream van owner was a Mr Crolla whose son attended Norwood.

As a Day Boy I was subjected to only the odd visit to St Mark's Church but the poor Boarders suffered weekly. I am sure that it was for appearance sake (i.e paying parents), that Charlie involved us in religion at all, taking us to St Mark's; we also had a wide variety of visiting Scripture teachers and, of course, we had the Morning Assembly. I was appalled to think that we had to go down on our knees to God; it was God who should be down on his knees to humanity for the inhuman way he treated the billions upon billions of people over the ages who had to suffer from his sadistic torture called "life". And for the miserable life endured by animals. We were fed the standard picture of a glorious life, with lambs prancing around in the green fields whilst the vicars always seemed to be the ones with the biggest cars - the St Mark's vicar, Mr Sparrow, had the biggest new Rover whilst the millions in India and China "lived" in conditions which cannot be imagined. I am thankful to say that I remained an ardent atheist.

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By Alastair Buchan

"One yes, two no", (hands in pockets).

"Thought's no good - you must KNOW".

"Always be on time".

"Stand up when I come into the room".

"Come to my room, I want Chapter and Verse".

His standard joke was: "I play three instruments: the wireless: the gramophone and the fool. I'm very good at the last one".

"Are you going to the dogs (cinema)?"

Charlie used to take us to Leeds to get our hair cut in the basement hairdressers at Horne Bros. He always bought a jar of their own brand of hair cream. Going from Harrogate to Leeds to get a haircut would seem rather extravagant these days but I expect it was just another excuse to have a train journey to Leeds Central station and inspect the steam engines.

I think ("think's no good, you must know!") that the original telephone number, Harrogate 5802, became confused with ICI's number after they set up in Harrogate in the early 1960s down Hookstone Rd. Remember the revolutionary new fabric which was woven from "Crimplene", named after the nearby River Crimple? Anyway, Charlie requested a number that could easily be remembered and that's what he got, 3456!

(2 March,2008) My only recollections of Joan Hammon/Mallett were in the final two Norwood productions of The Mikado. I remember Joan as a friendly and reassuring lady who was an outstanding actress with a huge presence on stage. She was particularly helpful in our first production when I was just 14. Joan gave me plenty of coaching and after all these years I can still remember the words from the Koko - Katisha love scene!

Recollections of Charlie’s Latin and French knowledge included the phrases mirabile dictu (marvellous to relate) and fermé la porte (close the door). These were in everyday use!

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By Dennis Guy

(Up to the end of the 1940s) Every Friday morning - must have been 5th or 6th-formers - used to line up four abreast outside Norwood and march (yes, march!) to a railway bridge (must have been to watch trains) the other side of Hookstone Road, now the Hornbeam Station. I seem to remember trips to York; that must have been trains-spotting too.

Gilbert & Sullivan; Charlie used to lead the orchestra and scratched (and I mean scratched) madly away at his violin out front looking as though he could kill the lot of us if anybody made an error. I went on a few trips to Leeds Grand Theatre, on school time of course, to see Gilbert & Sullivan and The D'Oyly Carte opera to perform.

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By Brian Lythall

Memories: Prefects' steps the old coke-boiler: burnt, lumpy porridge: being allowed one teaspoonful of sugar by Mr Cass senior and from the tiniest teaspoon I have ever seen: Charlie's favourite chocolate biscuits: the Tuck Shop: Gilbert & Sullivan: the Railway Club and its associated trips: pocket-money days: Great Yorkshire Show: expressions such as "Oh Lor": the circular globe of the world: the frenetic games of football in "the grounds" often ended early by Charlie when the ball was over-exuberantly kicked over the hedge: the fantastic Scalextric motor-racing set purchased and set up by some of our wealthy Chinese colleagues: football on the Stray and cricket at Pannal, tea being taken at the passing of the first Queen of Scots - one might be late but both, never.

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By Hugh Lythall

I realise Norwood had many faults but it also taught me values which I still hold dear to this day and I remember it with great affection.

As usual high spirits prevailed on the last day of the Summer Term in about 1962, it was a hot day and the Prefects were lording in their usual manner on their steps at the Tewit Well entrance when revenge for previous perceived injustices was planned. On a warm sunny day the idea of a water bomb was ideal!
A substantial balloon was soon found by me and Enoch (Chuck) Doubtfire and filled to capacity with water; we were soon able to view from the second floor window various Prefects oblivious to their impending fate. Aim was taken with great care and the bomb was dropped. As it dropped we noticed that the victims below were moving to one side and - horror upon horror - Sid Jones appeared on these steps. Mortified, we watched the bomb explode and drench Sid and a couple of Prefects. Stunned by our crime we were just too late to remove our heads from view and were instantly recognised; we ran but could not hide for long and a visit to the bog was arranged where both Chuck and I had our heads doused. Sid Jones took it all in good spirit and his only comment was about us looking flushed.

Who remembers getting 50 lines from Mr Lewis? If I remember rightly it was 50 of 'Few things are more disturbing to the well ordered mind than to see a boy disporting himself when he ought to know better'

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By Terence Alexander

I went to Norwood in about 1936 until 1937 or '38. I haven't really got anything of much interest to report about my time there except that I was very happy and thought Cass was a wonderful teacher.
I went on the stage in 1939 with the White Rose Players at the Opera House, Harrogate, and was called up into the Army in 1942 when I was just 19. I was wounded in Italy with the 27th Lancers in May '45 and when I came out of the Army I restarted my stage career.

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Following his death on 28 May,2009, The Guardian published an orbituary which included "After attending Ratcliffe college, Leicester (where he was so thin he was nicknamed Fatty), and Norwood college, Harrogate, followed by war service in the 27th Lancers in Italy, Alexander made his London stage debut at the Princes Theatre in 1950 in Party Manners, a title that encapsulated his precariously urbane acting style."
To many of us he was Hungerford in the TV series, Bergerac.

By 'Bill' Malcolm Webster

I seem to think Tony Eden and I got into trouble once for 'racing' Freddie Drake down Leeds Road, Freddie on his Boneshaker bike and us in best road walking mode. (Freddie came second).

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By Frances Judge

My mum was called Mary Collins and she was a cook. I think it must have been around 1957-1962 when she worked at Norwood College; I was a little girl at that time. She was definitely there when they were doing the production of "The Mikado" because the boys used to come into the kitchen and she would hear their lines/songs for them (while they ate her biscuits and scones), then she would come home and sing them to us! I still say she made the best pastry I have ever tasted and her Raspberry buns were to die for.

She used to walk to work from Starbeck pushing my younger brother John in his pram and then my sister Susan and myself would collect him after school. We went to St Roberts RC school, just across the Stray. Then we would walk home, pushing the pram across the stray. In the school holidays we were allowed in the basement if it was rainy but we spent most of our time on the Stray playing. But I remember the old coke boiler in the basement. I loved the smell of it.

Mum always talked affectionately about 'Old' Mr Cass and 'Charlie' Cass and Martin Boddy the school secretary. I can remember meeting "old" Mr Cass on one of my few excursions up the back stairs to the kitchen. After my initial fright at being discovered, I remember him as been a very nice and kindly old man. I also remember when he died and mum been very sad.

I also remember the weather balloon that hung in the stair well on the Leeds Road side.

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By Gerald Smith, now Gerry Lumley

I lived in Oak Terrace off Victoria Road. I wonder if it was Tony Eden’s grandad’s shop in Leeds Road where I used to sneak off and spend my dinner money on cigarettes. I used to buy 'Turf' the cheapest. Of course I was caught, with six others, by Charlie, smoking in the playground. He threatened expulsion but we figured out he could not afford to do that and lose all those fees. About three weeks later eleven of us were caught. We survived but were more cautious after.

I was broken-hearted at having to leave Harrogate and Norwood but my mother moved us to London. She was manageress at Fullers and got a promotion. She had to take it having struggled to bring my sister and me up after our Dad was killed in the war. It did however start me out on quite a life.

I remember Bean who I had some hard battles with on Sports day. We could both run pretty fast and both tried like hell to beat each other. Also Robbin Sellers; his father’s model shop on West Park was a source of wonderment to me.

Do you remember the training for sports day when we would march around the play ground with music playing blasting out from Charlie's study. I remember one year we had to form the letters ER for the Queen. I never knew without the advantage of TV and helicopters how the excited crowd watching us on the actual day would see ER?

I also recall the playground and the long jump pit. Charlie and Miss Hammond had parked themselves in two chairs looking back up the pit. Bean set off and cleared the pit demolishing both of them.

I had the great enjoyment of being Cricket captain for a while and I remember one day being driven by 'Charlie' in his chariot to Pannal to inspect the pitch. It had been bucketing down all morning and Charlie waited in his car for me to walk back and say “yes” or “no” to play. My feet were soaked but of course, knowing the alternative was lessons I said “yes”. He didn't question it. Bless him.

I remember Sydney Jones. He was the first teacher that inspired me. I'm sure it was him who walked into class one day and announced we would not be doing maths; instead we were going to have a debate. The subject was “Flying Saucers do exist”. I spoke for the motion and immediately became the nut who believed in such things. I don't actually think I did but I loved trying to convince everyone.

I don't know whether you were ever on the sharp end of Mr Hessay's double ruler punishment. Although it hurt across the palms it sounded worse than it was with the two rulers slapping together.

I helped to making a home-made bomb from Bonfire Night thunder-flashes and planting it under the Leeds Road fence. Following the explosion and the collapse of a complete section I turned to see the teachers looking out of the window at the whole episode and beckoning us to go in. I can feel a sense of pain in various parts of my body at recalling the punishment. We all know what that was and it hurt! I also remember an explosion in the science lab but I don't know who caused it. I definitely had nothing to do with it! A young lad from abroad climbed the flag pole in the playing ground and it started to sway; I think the fire brigade had to be called. I know Charlie was crimson with fear and rage. Any idea who that was?

Do you remember Dr Warren on the Leeds Road. He stiched back a part of my chin after I ran through a glass door heading for the playground. No anaesthetic!

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By Joann Waudby - for Colin Waudby

This is about my Dad, Colin, who is now, in 2003, 65 years of age

Dad attended Norwood College from the age of 7 through to the age of 16 with his brother Ian who was about 18 months older than him.

Dad was telling me that one of his biggest regrets was not getting in touch with the sports teacher Mr Styan; he spent lots of time with Dad, taught him boxing, and encouraged him with his running and athletics (for which he won several trophies whilst at Norwood).

He is the first to admit that he wasn't clever academically, and the sports aspect at school was his light relief. Saying that, since leaving school Dad has had his own business since the age of 21, first starting off as an agricultural engineer, then opening his own garage over forty years ago and has never looked back since! Dad went into specialising in MOT Testing about 20 years ago, and had a purpose built testing station built in the centre of Wetherby, where my brother now runs the family business. Up in the office my father has an old school picture on the wall which was taken in 1950 at Norwood College. Dad has lived all his life in Wetherby and retired about five or six years ago, and spends his time Fly Fishing, and travelling with my mum!

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By Iain Mcrither

During the War a German JU88 shot up and bombed Harrogate, passing over the school playground, whilst I was in charge of the playground lunch break. We ran like hell!!! I was very brave, last in to the Air Raid Shelter (only because others could run faster than me!!)
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By Robin Hall

I can't imagine what was going through our heads at the time, but a small group of us climbed onto the roof through the loft and out of a small window. We managed to detatch a chimney pot from its seating up there and man-(boy) handled it back into the loft and then into Charlie's study. I don't think that we ever got caught and the perpetrators of this bizarre act were never brought to book.

What on earth were we thinking of? Had any of us fallen we would probably have died.

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By Chris Allen

Mrs Corasi: "je suis...I am" etc
Mr Guest: his very long neck could spot a wrong-doer at the dinner table from 50 paces.
Mr Cass "come along, come along, come along, come along"
Mr and Mrs Jones. Good people.
And of course...Dear old Mr Thompson, maybe the nicest person I ever met.
Charlie introduced me to Gilbert & Sullivan and I am eternally grateful as I am still an amatuer performer.
Does anybody remember travelling to Harrogate Station to meet his friend from T'Yorkshire Pullman? I think it was Mr Dilemas * and we always used to get a Crunchie for going. Also, we used to have to watch and say 'clear, clear, chance, no' when he made a right turn in the car. Quite a responsibility for a 9 year old I feel.

( * The train Guard or perhaps Ticket Inspector, variously referred to as Mr Delimaas, Mr Dilemas and Mr de Lomas - the latter being Spanish for Hill)

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By Don Clapham

Sports days were a hoot as Mr Sid Jones the maths teacher put us all through our paces in height order to the marches of the US bandmaster J P Sousa. I lived at 154 West End Avenue next to the cricket ground gates so the Sports Days were just a step from my house.

Our pitches were in the coldest spot in Harrogate but at that time, late 50's,our boots were leather with lethal studs. I saw my first pair of Adidas boots worn by Rubic Bagdassarien who was a Persian but from Armenia. He was a good player who threw these fantastic boots onto the sideline to play in his socks and still score goals. Amazing in such low temperatures. Needless to say at the school matches Sid Jones was the ref. but when we played in games periods an elderly man called Mr Styan was the ref who barely left the centre circle; his decisions were awful. His party piece was at Sports Day swinging round some wooden clubs to music; this master lived on West End Avenue or St Georges Road.

The pupils always enjoyed the free "Medal-Winning Harrogate Ice Cream" dispensed by an Italian Gentleman from his van.

      (Note by Tony Eden: Free ice cream? - I don't think so!)

Bob Hatfield, the fittest at the school, won everything in sight on Sports Day. This tall American who cycled in from Menwith Hill early warning station was a real athlete. He even thumped some boarders from the middle east when they picked on this token Yank - big mistake!

Mr Spencely, a Geography teacher, had a goaty beard and he went on expeditions to South Georgia. He included slides with his interesting lectures that he gave to us pupils.

following added on 30 August,2005

I remember that I went to Norwood after Rossett College folded on Pannal Ash Road, and my father negotiated a cut price on chemistry. This did not last long after I melted a test tube and we evacuated the Lab due to the acrid fumes.

I was called in by Charlie one day to tell me I had come second in the country in my Geography Elementary LCC exam and he then proceeded to tell why I did not come first - his opinion and not a fact to store away. I cannot remember if I was congratulated - very confusing.

I think my maths developed under the great teaching of Sid Jones and my subsequent maths teaching career. As a failed 11+ pupil from St Peter's Primary, Harrogate, Norwood put me back on track to gaining my B.Sc(Hons) in Engineering Systems and Control. It does help when you know how difficult it was for my parents to pay the fees.

After school we played football in the very dusty basement, one day I climbed out of the window to recover a tennis ball; as I jumped back into the basement the rusty mesh on the window tore into the side of my leg to reveal the bone. So off upstairs to see Mr Martin Boddy, the school Secretary, who whacked in a huge wad of cotton wool and off to Harrogate General Hospital on Knaresborough Road (since demolished). The nurse on A&E spent ages picking out the cotton wool, asking "What idiot put all this in your wound???" but I did not name the idiot who "dressed " the wound - Well I survived and I have the scar to prove it.

Charlie used to refer to Clapham 1 & Clapham 2 etc using Roman numerals. During my Norwood days I was Clapham2 and Arthur Clapham was Clapham1; he was a farmer's son from Burton Leonard from north of Harrogate.

I cannot envisage Charlie as a boy and Saturday mornings were prep times for homework in my day.

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By Graham Brown

If the head boy Crowther was nicknamed Cronky then he was the one who first called me "Joe" Brown and he needs to know that it has stuck all my life.

I went on a trip to Western Super Mare with Charlie, Martin Boddy and Cronky Crowther and another boy younger than me whose name I can't remember. We stayed for a week at The George in Western and then a week in the Regent Palace in London. Charlie`s holidays away were brilliant and he always tried to include me as I sometimes helped him at school in the holidays. I went with a party to the Charing Cross Hotel and also to the Old England at Bowness.

I used to meet the Lythall brothers at Manchester Piccadilly Station and take them for lunch before bringing them back to school after the holidays had finished.

I lived in St George's Rd and Don Clapham live at the top near the cricket ground.

I have seen many friends on this web site - friends from a very happy time in my life e.g. Brian Ferris got me into the Air Force Cadet Force in Harrogate.

On the 1960 school photo I saw Mr Burton who we called Yogi. Saw Martin Boddy some years ago in Scarborough but only see Johnny Lockhead and Pete Rocky Castle in Harrogate on a regular basis.

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By John Horner

I was a Boarder at Norwood from summer 1960 to summer 1967 when I left to join the RAF. I have many happy, and a few sad, memories of those years. After RAF basic & trade training I was posted to a Bomber Command station in Lincolnshire with the Vulcans but spent most of my time on detachment mostly in Scotland - "oh happy days".

On arrival at Norwood, my parents and I were taken to the lounge where we were introduced to Martin Boddy; explained most of the dos and donts. The new-starters dorm was directly above. I remember Ratty Robinson was Head Prefect. All very strange for us new boys. Miles Dugan in the bed next to me was heartbroken. A cleaning lady with one leg shorter than the other Mrs Coles? First class was 3a, top floor above Prefects Steps. Mrs Jones for arithmetic ( I wish I had £1 for every dream had by every boy about Mrs Jones). I became very good friends with Enoch "chuck" Doubtfire (died in the 80s) and Hughie Lythall. I was promoted to JHM by Mick Oxtoby after beating him at billiards and went on to become Head Prefect in 1967. Derek England was before me and Ali before him.

On looking through the Norwood site I notice there is no mention one very important category "the girlfriends"; unfortunately, I have no photographs but I do have names.
The coffee bar had become a bit "tired" and I believe Charlie had been persuaded by Ali Buchan to allow certain young ladies from Knaresborough Grammar School to attend on certain nights of the week and weekends. The ladies:(I digress to point out that I was far better looking than David "Rusty" Russell)
Anne Kaminski - sister to Mik of ELO fame; highly thought of by Charlie dated Ali, Ian "Harry" Blair & myself. Her mother taught music.
Carrol - good friend of Anne girlfriend of Rusty; I think she lived in Greenhammerton.
Pat Foster a lovely girl went out with Mick, "Dickie" Henderson (Mick was killed in a car cash about 1990).
Lindsay Brown - my first true girlfriend our first date was at the Odeon cinema and at first I was frightened to put my arm round her; she later went out with Harry Blair.
Steph; she went with Brian Simpson (Buccaneers) and her friend, Jenny Coles who at one time was dating Jake Holiday (drummer, Buccaneers).
Elizabeth Henderson - sister of Mick - first dated Harry Blair then she and I had quite a long relationship.
Pat Sweet - not her real surname but those who remember her will know. There were many, many others and I apologise to those I have omitted.

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By Paul Thompson

I think it was Mr Wright who used to bring the class to order by holding up an open book, and closing it slowly - the idea being that there had to be complete silence before the book had closed otherwise some unspecified malediction would befall us.

Monsieur Coresi (I thought it was pronounced 'Crarzy'), who used a magnifying glass, and told us that he had nearly blinded himself by staring at the sun. This was probably the most valuable lesson I learned from him.

Mrs Hammond, who seemed to dabble in a lot of things, most notably stage productions that seemed to be aimed at highlighting my ineptitude at all things thespian.

Gym in the basement with Mr Styan. I was prone to all sorts of illnesses in those days, and did not have a lot of confidence in my strength or stamina. So when it came to a rope-climbing exercise I did not expect to do any better than some of the lads who only managed to get halfway up. I was quite surprised when my head hit the ceiling. I looked down at Mr Styan, and he assured me that it was OK to come down now; presumably he didn't want me to go any higher.

One lot of maths sessions was with an elderly gentleman (Mr Cass Snr?) who used to set us a series of exercises to do in the classroom. We would do one, run to the front to show it to him, and he would award two points if we got it right first time, or one point for a second attempt. We would then run back to our desks to do the next problem. It became a game to see who could accumulate the most points.

In another set of maths lessons (different room, different teacher) we were lined up against the wall. The teacher asked a mental arithmetic question of the boy at the top of the line. If he got it wrong, she asked the boy next to him, and so on. Whoever got it right was moved up the line, ahead of the boys who had got it wrong.

On the way home from school I used to pass a building at the top of Station Parade which seemed to be a sort of club or hostel for American and/or Canadian servicemen. One day I was passing some Yanks in uniform and called out 'got any gum, chum?' Before I knew what was happening, I was whisked inside the building and laden with candies and chocolate bars. What bliss in those days of stringent rationing. And what happy, innocent days! Imagine the reaction nowadays if a young lad came home laden with sweets that had been given to him by complete strangers!

But most of all I remember Miss Besant, who fascinated me because I firmly believed that she was slightly mad. The prose and poetry that she flung at us made scarcely any impression, but her insistence that the word 'and' should never occur more than once in a page still haunts me. Even now my conscience pricks me, and I feel her ghost leaning over my shoulder, as I vainly struggle to minimise my use of the dreaded three-letter word.
"All joints on the table must be cut" (Miss Besant, I think) still keeps me from resting my elbows on the table at mealtimes.

"One hand yes, two hands no!" is still with me. I never put both hands in my pockets, unless I am wearing my overcoat, it is blowing a blizzard and I have forgotten my gloves - and only then if there is no-one watching.

And of course "Gentilhomme a Jamais" is something that I have tried to live up to for the last fifty years. I firmly believe that if there were more schools like Norwood College today, and more head masters like Mr Cass, then Britain would be a better place.

following added on 8 March,2007

I vaguely recall a Sullivan at school – a boarder, I believe. I think it was he to whom I once lent a pair of nail scissors. He returned them some time later and proudly announced that he had straightened them for me. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that they were meant to be curved!

The school playground had a bank along two sides, on which grew a bush (no idea what type) with a sort of cane growing out of the base. It was a single stem with leaves growing from it at regular intervals. The leaves could be removed by the simple expedient of drawing a closed hand along the length of the cane. On two occasions that I can remember, when a boy stepped out of line he was told to go into the playground and come back with a cane – which was then used to good effect. (No! It wasn’t me.)

The only science lesson that I can remember was one that went completely out of control. The teacher must have been new because he had no idea of how to keep us in check. There was about ten minutes of uninterrupted mayhem, and then one of the other teachers (or it may have been Mr Cass) came storming in. We were then marched to Mr Cass’s study, where we waited our turn to go in and be given a little memento of our visit (well, six actually).

I can vaguely remember Mr Styan – short, wiry and terribly enthusiastic. As far as I was aware there were only two houses in my time – Styan and Ford. Our chant was "Styan, Styan, strong as a lion. Ford, Ford, rusty old sword."

Two things that I can remember about Miss Besant’s classes were: A poem which began "Do you remember an inn, Miranda? Do you remember an inn?"

Note by Tony Eden: this poem was Tarantella by Joseph Hillaire Pierre Rene Belloc, 1870 – 1953.
I don’t remember this as Paul does but having now read the poem I could well imagine Miss Besant reading it aloud.
She announced one day that she had such an infectious laugh that anyone who heard her would also start laughing. She then began to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. The class sat in stony silence for some time and then one or two lads - out of embarrassment, sympathy, or just to get it over with - began to laugh as well, and the rest of us jointed in. She then stopped, happy in the knowledge that she had proved her point. We were happy that it was all over.

I think that it was this last point - and seeing her in town wearing a fur coat on a very hot day – which made me suspect that she deviated ever so slightly from the accepted standards of sanity. Nonetheless, she was the only teacher whom I remember well, so she must have been good.

We also played football (well, kicked it around a little) in the school playground. Maybe I am being unjust there, because it was obviously taken seriously. I incurred cries of ‘foul’ once when I instinctively tried to stop a high ball with my hand. Mr Styan disallowed the call because it had obviously been a reflex action inspired by my enthusiasm (?) for the game.

And then there was Sports Day. There was the hundred yards race, the two hundred (or was it two-twenty?) yards, sack race, three-legged race and the egg-and-spoon race. I can also vaguely remember something about a long jump, and presumably the older boys had other, more interesting, activities. I was never particularly good at sports, but I did manage to come second or third at some events, for which I was rewarded with National Saving Certificates. That was another good thing to come out of Norwood – it introduced me to the savings habit at a very early age.

following added on 15 March,2007

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.

One other event that I have quite a clear recollection of is our class being trundled in to listen to a debate by the senior school on whether capital punishment should be abolished. Before the vote was taken we juniors were called upon to make our contribution. When it came to my turn to speak I was a mugwump (defined by Michael Bentine as someone who squats on the fence with his mug on one side and his wump on the other). I argued that a person should not be hung for a first offence in case there were special circumstances or the verdict might be in error, but if after serving a prison term he killed again then he should be hung. I cannot remember how I voted, or what the outcome was, but it was an interesting experience.

(PS: Paul would love to hear from anyone about Norwood.... Tony Eden)

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By Richard Bennison

I live in the land down-under where my wife and I have lived for forty years, raised our kids, a boy and a girl, and now have grandchildren with whom we are very much involved.

By sheer luck I recently stumbled upon the Norwood College web site whilst using Google Earth. I wish I'd found and been able to view the site a long time ago. So many memories and friends leaping into my mind. My history with Norwood was from 1948 to 1954/early 1955. As well as being a Scout, I also played the principal roles of Nanki Poo in The Mikado (1952), and Strephon in Iolanthe (1953), which were performed at the Old Swan Hotel. To this day I still wonder in amazement at having had the nerve to be on stage, being very scared that I might forget my lines, talking and singing solo.

My dormitory overlooked Leeds Road; on the opposite side is Royal Crescent, which is still there. I was saddened to learn that Norwood was demolished in November,1972, and the passing of Charlie Cass in 1976. My bed was on the right, behind the door, as you entered the dormitory.

There were countless evenings at Norwood after dinner, regardless of the weather conditions or season, when some of the boys with bottomless pits for stomachs, inevitably wanted more food. After all, we were healthy, growing lads! So, later in the evening we would plan our strategic moves like a well-disciplined commando unit. On the stroke of 8.45 pm, if you remember Charlie was a stickler for keeping to absolutely exact times throughout the day, always looking at his fob watch which was attached to a chain and resided in his waistcoat pocket, he and his father Wilf would always be entrenched in their study, on the first floor dormitories level, to listen to the BBC radio news bulletin at 9pm. They never, ever left the study until exactly 9.15pm.

The ‘Commando’ squad knowing the times raced down into the basement and into the boiler room where our bicycles were parked, unlocked the rear basement door, onto our bikes and roared off across the Stray. We crossed York Road into Trafalgar Road, then into Trafalgar Court at the end of which was a fish and chip shop. There we gobbled and feasted; you must remember we only had a maximum of half an hour to complete our mission. We considered the meal to be the equivalent of caviar, so delicious. A bottle of Dandelion and Burdock was also consumed.

Our quest for food satisfied, off we went, our legs peddling like pistons, to return our bikes to the basement, lock the rear door, rush upstairs to the bathroom to wash our hands and brush our teeth to hide any traces of our feasting. Can you imagine the explosion if Charlie had ever found out! Then we returned to our dormitory to await Charlie’s call for a select few seniors to join him in his quarters for the nightly ritual of a hot drink of chocolate and a biscuit. Very nice indeed! In Charlie’s quarters where we drank our hot drinks and ate biscuits, we were also privileged to be able to listen to a nightly radio series of Paul Temple. Great stuff.

Names of friends that spring to mind are Adrian Bean, Alan Taylor, Keith Maude, Peter Wills, George Sutherton, John Fallon, Bobby Preston, Michael Levine and Peter and Paul Tempest to name a few.

14 September,2007

Rationing Coupons
This is truly a yarn for those who suffer from the dreaded ‘sweet tooth’ syndrome. Each week, on Saturdays, Boarders were given their allocation of coupons and pocket money. In the afternoon Charlie would receive requests of, “Please sir, may I go to town?”
Permission was usually given, and a time was set as to when we must return; to return late could be likened to committing suicide, very foolhardy!
The sweet shop was situated in Station Parade, not far from the Railway Station. When entering the shop it was like walking into paradise, chocolates and sweets everywhere, enough to make eyes explode!
I speak for myself when I say my coupon allocation was exhausted on Mars and Bounty bars for which I had a huge craving.

17 September,2007

Note by Tony Eden.
Poor Richard! Little did he know (or did he?) that my mother and I lived with my grandparents at Guys News in Mount Street, Oatlands, and this sold newspapers, Magazines (including those wonderful magazines Health & Efficiency and Men Only), cigarettes and, yes, CHOCOLATES & SWEETS! I can remember counting out the coupons that were deposited in a tin, in preparation for sending off – somewhere or other.
What were Boarders fed? Richard had to quietly nip out and buy Fish and Chips!

Mischief Night
For a few Boarders another exciting time was Mischief Night; on the fourth of November each year, as a prelude to Bonfire Night the next evening, we would go out, or more likely sneak out, with torches, pockets full of crackers, string, matches, drawing pins, small pebbles and a few potatoes.

Thinking back our escapades were to us very daring, heart thumping, and scary for fear of being caught by residents. At this point I will say at no time did we cause any damage to property, hurt, injure anyone or any animals. The first escapade was to pick quiet streets where all the front garden gates were very similar in size. Then we would unhinge several and interchange them. This resulted in differently shaped, coloured gates being attached to wrong houses; if we couldn't exchange a gate then we simply unhinged it and placed it against a wall. We were never around the next day to witness the neighbours searching, finding and returning gates to the rightful property.

Next we prepared a piece of string with a pebble tied to it. Then, with bated breath hoping no one would come out of a front door and catch us, we attached the string and pebble with a drawing pin to the wooden frame above a lounge window. The wind would then complete matters by blowing the pebble against the window. By this time we were concealed in the dark observing as the house owner came out to check what was causing the tapping.

Another trick was to judge how long a small piece of string, about an inch inserted into the end of a firecracker, would smoulder for before igniting a cracker. When this was accomplished we prepared several ‘time-bombs’ to go off in about a minute, the time it takes most people to answer the doorbell. The trick then was for one of us to light the cracker near a front door whilst the other rang the bell, resulting in the cracker going off as the front door was opened. In retrospect I’ve thought this trick was a bad idea, especially if the house owner was elderly or had a poor heart.

Finally there was the potato trick. This was to tap a potato into the end of a car exhaust pip