On my first day I sat with all the new boys for assembly on the steps facing the rest of the school who sniggered and laughed at our ill-fitting new long trousers, blazers and our over-sized briefcases. Each boy’s name was called out and they went off with their new house master and new classmates. When all the names had been called I was still left sitting there on my own. The sniggering got louder and my blushes deepened. I cannot remember who it was who came to speak to me, I suspect it was Mr. Mayo. I remember the teacher said kindly something like “what’s your name boy? Are you at the right school?”
It was found that I was indeed at the correct school and I joined 1M and Steve Towell(?) as our form master.
And so life began at Cray Valley. Like many I can still recall the register for our class and repeat it every now and again to the annoyance of my wife and daughter. Thinking back I enjoyed my time at Cray Valley. We had a great bunch of boys in our class but sadly I have lost contact with all of them now.
My memories include Martin Carr teaching us to scrummage by putting his watch on top of the ball with the instructions not to dare touch either. Mark Taylor must have just grazed the ball with his stud and the watch slipped to the gym floor! Mr Carr erupted, pushed Mark up against the wall bars grabbed the ball and punted it full force into the wall just next to his head. He never touched the ball again…
I remember how much Mr. Carr disliked taking Friday detention. You always knew you were in for it if it were his turn. He told us once “You are keeping me from my family, and I don’t like that. Therefore I will make it most uncomfortable for you. You will all stand still at your desks for the hour. If anyone moves I will see he pays for it.”
After about 45 minutes the boy next to me, Peter Loft, started to faint and in fact threw up on the desk in front of him. I raised my hand. “Yes Hinton” said Mr. Carr. “Excuse me Sir but Loft has just been sick”
“Loft, go outside get some fresh air. Hinton you go with him.” We went outside by the stairs near Dai Watkins room. When we returned Mr. Carr said “Loft, clear up your mess and stay standing. Hinton you moved so you will get another detention next week” Do you think I complained?
These were very different days. History master Mr. Jones frightened the bejabers out of everyone but mostly the 1st years who left 15 minutes early in the first term and who would run down the corridor to get to the bus stop ahead of the rest of school. Probably the funniest incident involving them was in a maths class with Mr Bourne, a tall stooping beanpole who used words like “a for instance” instead of “an example”. One afternoon he scooped a small boy into our room and humiliated him in front of us by having the boy remove his shoes and then lifting him up to hold on the top of the blackboard frame. The boy was then left hanging while Mr Bourne scattered drawing pins on the floor beneath him. He would never had let the boy fall I know but things like this were all part and parcel of school life back then.
I was hopeless at maths regardless of who taught me. Colonel Turner once told my Mother at a parents evening that while he agreed I was dreadful at Maths, she was not to worry as I was the sort of boy who would come back to visit the school in a white Rolls Royce*. I’m not sure quite what that suggests about what he thought of me and my prospects, but my Mother, bless her, was comforted by the pronouncement. For the record I have never been in a white Rolls Royce let alone driven one up the school drive*.
Mr. Hughes, (Ted) who always reminded me somewhat of a mole, was my maths teacher for my O Level year. Handing out the exam papers from our mock O’Levels, and joyfully announcing that I had achieved a mark of 14%, he informed me, and the rest of the class, that I would not be taking the maths O Level exam as “it isn’t worth the 7 pounds 50p that it costs the school to enter me.” He was right of course and to be fair I was relieved. So, having taken all my other exams I headed to Lt Col. Coggan’s office for my careers advice interview. He asked me what I wanted to do and I replied I had no idea. He suggested that, having looked at my results, I should consider a career as A) A silversmith or B) A hairdresser. I lost my hair at the age of 17….
I left school and Joined Eagle Star Insurance before moving to J. H. Minet to be a broker at Lloyds and then went on to become a foreign exchange broker and later trader at an American Bank in The City. Subsequently I moved to Australia where I became the first Energy Broker and later moving to Thompson Reuters where I currently cover the Australian energy market. No maths O Level but 40 years’ experience in the financial markets… perhaps that is what Col. Turner meant after all.
I went on a School camp to St. Davids, West Wales one year. I’m not sure which teachers or boys were there but I think Rob Bailey from my class might have been one. I remember one very cold wet day wandering around the 'city' centre and going into a café. There were four of us and we asked for four coffees I think. The waitress said “Are you English?” We said “Yes”. She replied “I’m sorry, I can’t serve you.” I have never liked the Welsh since although I loved Dai Watkins geography lessons.
I recall a boy had his leg run over by a No. 94(?) bus? I was at the bus stop about 5 yards back as the bus pulled up. The boy concerned wanted to jump to the front of the queue and tried to nip up the gutter. Unfortunately he slipped and fell, his leg was then run over right in front of me. Awful.
Another memory which someone might be able to clear up for me is from one last day of term assembly. The head master was Bill Turner (that’s what we called him). He swept up the aisle gown and mortar board immaculate as usual. He climbed the stairs to the right of the stage, as usual and stood in readiness in front of his extra comfy chair at the front centre of stage holding his lapels. With his usual flourish he swept his gown out behind him and with all the school, boys and teaching staff, watching sat down only to have the chair collapse to the floor! There was chaos! Lt Col. Coggan raced to his aid helping up and offering his own semi comfy chair instead. Assembly went ahead and school broke for the summer holidays. Speculation was rife as to whom was responsible and the consensus was that a boy named Penn who may, or may not have been head boy that year, was most likely the prankster who had removed the screws. I would love to hear if anyone else was there or if, indeed I have dreamt it, and if not do we know who really did it?
There are precious few people from my year in The Register but I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me or my classmates including:
Alexander, Bailey, Buxton, Chubb, Craddick, Crowley, Enoch, Fraser, Gilbert, Hazell, Hinton, Holden,
Howes, Keirnan, Loft, May, Murphy, Searle, Taylor, Towell, Whalley, Willoughby, Woodgate.
*(Ed. See Alan Whitehead's story)
Being the last year to take the 11 plus and having passed, it was decided that, not being brainy enough for St Olaves, I should go to Bromley Tech (Ravensbourne). Living in Chelsfield this meant catching two buses, something my mother clearly thought was beyond me. She pleaded with my primary school headmaster to let me attend Charterhouse Secondary Modern which was close by. He told her “Madam, in all the years I have been a head master I have had many, many parents beg me have their child go to a better school. You are the first to ask me the opposite!”
A comprise was agreed upon and I went to CVTHS largely because one of my older brothers (Graham Hinton 61-66) had been there and “it didn’t do him any harm…” This, despite it being the school furthest school from my house on the list of possibilities, although only one bus and a two mile walk.