Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Memories of Mr F E Gladwell

Thanks are due to the Old Symondians' Association magazine where this article appeared in autumn 2009. It had first appeared in the Peter Symonds' School Magazine.
The date of first publication is unknown but it was after 1964

“Mr F E Gladwell

Mr Gladwell came to Peter Symonds’ in 1946 after a distinguished academic career and his war-time service in the Intelligence Corps. Appointed to the German department, he later introduced the study of Russian into the School and organised at Sixth Form level a wide range of cultural and intellectual pursuits. For a number of years he arranged foreign travel for parties from the School and more recently was active in promoting and strengthening the link between Giessen and Winchester.
But most Symondians will remember his very great interest in everything connected with the theatre. Each Christmas from 1949 to 1963 he produced for the Dramatic Society a full-length play, among which the works of Shaw, with “Arms and the Man” and “Pygmalion,” at the beginning, and an ambitious “Caesar and Cleopatra” in the middle, will probably be mot often recalled. The climax of his productions was, however, the stating of his own translation of the Russian play, “The Bed Bug,” with well over 100 characters.
That was in 1962 in Varley Hall, on a real stage. But for 14 years the Dramatic Society had struggled to present its work on the inadequate platform in Northbrook Hall. It was there, all too often in really cold weather, that a team led at all levels by Mr Gladwell, cheerfully surmounted so many difficulties. In such unprepossessing circumstances, many a Symondian’s appetite for the theatre was whetted and many will gratefully remember it.
We hope his new appointment in London will permit F E G many opportunities of indulging his taste for the theatre.”

This was transcribed on Tuesday 8th June 2010 by Jim Wishart, co-manager with Doug Clews and Chris Cooper of the Peter Symonds Nostalgia web site at

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Memories of John St John

Thanks are due to the Old Symondians' Association magazine where this article appeared in autumn 2009. It had first appeared in the Peter Symonds' School Magazine.
The date of first publication is unknown but it was after 1964

“Mr J L St John

In this and the preceding issue, we have outlined the careers of several masters who have served the School for exceptionally long periods. None of them, however, has touched the life of the School in more diverse ways than the career of John St John.
“Saint” in the Common Room, “Sandy” to the boys, he joined the School from Weymouth in 1929, after his education at Taunton’s School and University College, Southampton, and a brief sojourn in a Midlands school.
He taught Chemistry and General Science with efficiency and a touch of humour. It is when we remember the inadequate facilities which existed and the depressing laboratories in which most of his career was spent that many of us will feel grateful for his efforts; just as many Old Symondians will recall, not without affection, the Freeman and St John Chemistry textbook, which was also successful in many places outside the School.
“Saint” has played many games gracefully and successfully. In his early years at the School he played hockey for Chandler’s Ford and cricket for Stanmore, but it already seems a long time since he became a leading member of a local bowling club and a regular winner of the OSA bowls championship. It was, however, his great interest in swimming in the School which will be remembered by many Old Symondians. He was in charge of swimming and life-saving activities for a number of years, and thereafter was a regular supporter of the swimming team at home and away fixtures.
Before 1939 he organised a number of visits of School parties to the Continent and was also in the Officer’s Training Corps, as it was then called. During the war he served in the Special Constabulary and organised agricultural camps at which boys of the School helped on the land.
Mr and Mrs St John took boys as boarder in their house in Cheriton Road before they moved to Kelso House in 1947 and where they remained until 1964. It would be idle to attempt to assess what influence they have had n the several hundred boys to whom they stood in loco parentum, but few could have lived with them without remembering many kindnesses and quiet advice and without cultivating a bit more concern for courtesy, personal appearance and tidiness. Even the Kelso House hurdle for new boys presented - in the event – little terror. The song that had to be sung at the Christmas party was soon taken up by so many other voices, and the spread of food was more than mere compensation. Many members of the School Staff, too, have reason to be grateful for the hospitality and friendship which Kelso House offered. “

This was transcribed on Tuesday 8th June 2010 by Jim Wishart, co-manager with Doug Clews and Chris Cooper.