Sunday, 11 March 2001

classroom memories

whose lessons went with a bang?

25 comments:

  1. hi Peter, well I guess that you mean the chemistry master but darned if i can remember his name, i must have that disease that accompanies old age, can't remember the name of that either!!   regards jim  

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  2. I can't remember whether it was "Fergie" (general science) or "Sam" Simpson (chemistry) but the teacher in question used to fill a tin can with coal gas from a gas tap in the lab (before natural (methane) gas that was a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen), light a small hole at one end and when enough air had been drawn to form an explosive mixture, BANG!   I don't think the Health and Safety regulations would allow it these days!

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  3. yes! I do remember that, the tate and lyle tin used to shoot up and hit the ceiling. I think that we might have done it once in the playing field. regards, jim 

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  4. Two more memories, perhaps you remember them also: Who recounted to his pupils while he was a prisoner of war, that he had met Hitler?; and who was described in a pupil's manuscript addition to a latin text book as "horrendus"?

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  5. nope, can't remember either of those things, can you give us a clue? jim,

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  6. Hi jim   the p.o.w. teacher who encountered Hitler taught german and french; after his return to ps he married one of the wartime lady teachers (Miss Lanham, I think).   the second teacher was in fact Mr Cooksey; the unknown schoolboy editor of the Latin textbook had translated, for others' benefit, the word horrendus as "cookseyish".

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  7. I well remember the exploding gas-in-a-can experiment, still being performed in my time (55-63); I suspect it was done by Fergie, but I can't be sure.

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  8. so the teacher who met Hitler was Mr Lang? He only took me for my first term in 3B, no further German as I remember. I can however remember the giggles when he told us how to pronounce 'vater' jim

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  9. Hi jim Yes, "joe" laing claimed Hitler had spoken to him during the fuehrer's visit to a pow camp. the german verb fahren (to travel) also used to produce schoolboy giggles for the 3rd person singular - er, sie, es fahrt!   Also, fuehrer because it means a number of things eg a tram driver.

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  10. Mr Laing gave a brief interview (or rather, a statement) to "The Symondian" magazine about his encounter with Hitler. He preferred a statement because he didn't want to be questioned about it. However, in the account (check your old copies of The Symondian to verify this), he left the actual encounter open to some doubt by saying that the man could have been "Hitler's double". Anybody want a copy of the article? I could e-mail it, if anyone is interested.

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  11. Bernard, I'd be fascinated by Mr Laing's article. I'm at chris_cooper@ntlworld.com    

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  12. hi Bernard, I'd like a copy too if that's OK, perhaps you could just attach it as a file in replying to this message? I have just been reading an old copy of the Symondian [1997] and reference is made to a History of the school written by Neil Jenkinson. Is it still in print and how would I get a copy?   regards jim wishart, site manager

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  13. I will send out copies of the interview at the weekend. And Jim, I found the "History of Peter Symonds" book in the window of the Hampshire Chronicle office in the High Street on one of my visits back to England (I now live in Santa Barbara, CA) - so you could try there, but I'm sure the Hon Secretary of the Old Symondians Society has copies. His name is Mike Conlan and his e-mail address is casamelara@aol.com. Footnote: I was astonished to find that the author of the book, Neil Jenkinson, is the half-brother of one of my classmates, Bill Ricquier, who I recently discovered is now a lawyer in Singapore.

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  14. thanks for that Bernard, I have emailed him. It is a small world eh? especially when I find that you are 7000 miles away! regards, jim wishart, site manager,

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  15. Bernard   Could i please have a copy also of Mr Laing's article.     Thanks   Peter Smith    smithbennett@aol.com

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  16. Peter and Chris, your copies are on the way. And Jim, I need an e-mail address - this e-mail program won't allow attachments replying to a bulletin board message! (The files are JPG's so I hope you can all read them.)

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  17. hi Bernard, thanks for that, my email address is james@wishart100.freeserve.co.uk   regards, jim wishart, list manager,

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  18. hi jim On a completely new subject, what were the names of the 2 WCHS teachers who "chaperoned" the PS/WCHS Sixth Form dancing lessons in the early 50s?   And where was the end of autumn term dance usually held?  regards peter smith

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  19. Nope, don't know the answer to those questions, Dancing was something way beyond my ken at that time, it all seemed a bit unsavory, girls were a huge mystery. One of the problems of having no sisters and attending a single sex school. Being a late developer I can remember that when I did my National Service I had to shave 'bum fluff' off my upper lip in the morning in order to keep up with the others! jim wishart, list manager    

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  20. posted by jim on behalf of Peter   Hi jim
    The ladies in question were miss hogben and miss stewart smith, and the end
    of term bash was held mainly in the Awry Tea Rooms, which was over WH Smith's
    shop in Parchment Street (and also with adjournments to a nearby pub).  The
    tea rooms have long gone and the area is just now the first floor of WHS.

    I didn't have any brothers or sisters, so dancing lessons were an awakening
    for me.
    My wife Muriel (Elliott) also attended them, but several years after me. 
    Does anybody out there remember her brothers Ray and Mike, who were at PS in
    the 50s. Mike only came for the Sixth Form.  The Elliotts, like myself, came
    from Chandler's Ford.

    peter

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  21. The only lesson that I remember going with a bang was 'Fergys' Science class, when he cut a piece of potassium with a wet penknife with predictable results. About 1948?    

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  22. hi 'j' yes I remember the potassium being sliced with the pen knife. Didn't it need to be dropped in water to fizz? welcome to the list, glad you can contribute, please add photos if you have any. I left in 52, were we contemporaries? regards, jim wishart, list manager,

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  23. Hi Jim, I'm racking what's left of my brain, and your name is ringing a small bell, but I can't place you in class. If you remember Fergie's Potassium `bang` we must have been in the same form. Can you remember when Fergie was showing the gas/air burning in a syrup tin, one of the class went up to the can and shouted 'BANG' just as the mix exploded?  Wonder who it was? I must have developed a love of explosions as I spent many years in the Army working with ammunition and some time on Bomb Disposal in NI. Perhaps I can blame all that on Fergie!   Lots of memories are coming back, wonder where the time went!   Best wishes to you , please keep up the good work   John

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  24. hi John well, I took the scenic route through the school, started in 3c, then 3b, then 4c, then 5two gen and was it 5one gen and a brief sojourn in sixth while waiting for an entrance exam result. I get the feeling you may have been more academic. I guess from the clue that the future bomb disposer shouted "bang"? regards, jim wishart, list manager,

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  25. I can remember well 'Fergie' as an exciting science teacher who inspired my interest in science with both his treacle tin explosion and the potassium being sliced with the pen knife. It was one of the things I have told my children about because the don't do that sort of thing any more.He also joked with us that as a Scotsman he would use water with a few drops of Hydrochloric acid as a cheap white wine?
    Believe it or not 'Fergie' also entertained us in Latin. when he took a class when EO Jones was off sick. He asked us to make a translation of the nursery rhyme 'Humpty Dumpty' Done as a group it was a great laugh which we all enjoyed.The result was something like this:-
    Humptius Dumptius in muro sedit
    Humptius Dumptius e muro cecidit
    omnes Equidae rex
    et omnes honimes rex
    non denuo iunxit

    Excuse the my latin, (I only got 55% at 'O' level thanks to EO Jones, Mr. Shields and Mr. Cooksey) but it shows that I learned some latin from 'Fergie' It was the best latin lesson I ever had! we all feared the dreaded latin lessons with EO.
    Does anyone else remember this, perhaps you can improve my version.

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