Memories of CJ Cozens

Taken from Neil Jenkinson’s book, 'The History of Peter Symonds'.

………….FWM. Cox, ordained deacon in 1922, had succeeded Cockle as second master in 1929, as well as presiding over Wyke Lodge. On his retirement in 1937, he was succeeded in both posts by Christopher John Cozens. This remarkable man deserves more notice. George Pierce has written of him:
Christopher John Cozens who came from Andover Grammar School via University College, Southampton, was always referred to by staff and boys as "Cozy" for as long as I can remember. I first met "Cozy" in 1923 when I entered Peter Symonds' School as a boy. He then taught maths to the lower and middle school who feared and respected him. We learned, though he did not tell us, that he had been an artillery officer in the Great War and that he had been awarded the military cross. He was certainly a crack shot with a piece of chalk. Nobody ever ragged Cozy; such behaviour was unthinkable. Even minor misdemeanours such as yawning and inattention were punished by a shrewd blow on the head with a wooden board rubber which left the culprit with a lump on his skull and a film of chalk dust in his hair.
He used to teach in Bigg Room and we often wondered how he could detect and name an inattentive pupil when he had his back turned to the class and was writing on the blackboard. It was some time before we discovered that a picture, craftily hung above the board, reflected any movement in its glass. In those old fashioned days, boys were expected to know their multiplication tables and their rods, roods, bushels and fathoms. To confess to Cozy that you did not know your tables was to ask for trouble. "You don't know !" he would storm. "Tell me anything you know ‑ anything at all about anything." Aghast at this paralysing carte blanche, the wretched boy would collapse into silence and tears.  [I must say that I don’t remember this kind of thing happening! Jim Wishart]
Those who have read so far will have come to the conclusion that Cozy was something of a martinet. Indeed he was. Cribbers and Slackers had a terrible time with him but they learned to be grateful to him in the end for he was a first class schoolmaster who expected, and obtained, first class results. He never forgot to set the prep, and plenty of it, and he never forgot to mark it thoroughly. He never spared the boys and he never spared himself. It was rumoured that he refused to give 100% for any set of examination answers claiming that none could be perfect and that on one occasion when confronted with a paper with which he could find no fault, he shook a blot on it, put a ring round it and deducted one mark for untidiness.
In 1933, I came back to the school as a master and, except during the war, worked side by side with Cozy for 22 years. It was somewhat embarrassing at first to call him "Cozy" to his face and one instinctively raised an arm to ward off the intimidating board rubber. However, these reactions soon disappeared and one turned to him for wise advice and found him a kind and sympathetic friend. He was by then senior mathematical master and in 1937 he succeeded the late Rev. EWM. Cox as second master and as master of Wyke Lodge.
Perhaps his piece de resistance was the school timetable, a massively complicated sheet which he compiled and amended himself. This was regarded, at least by the junior members of the staff, as sacrosanct; tampering with the timetable was not to be thought of.
Occasionally, in some staff room horse‑play, it was accidentally torn or defaced. Retribution was swift and devastating. Cozy's wrath had to be seen to be believed.
Another abiding memory of that Lent term is of the Saturday morning sessions with the small "scholarship group" in the seventh form. There were five or six in the group. Although he shouldered an increasingly heavy burden of work at school, he still found time to write several mathematical text books and to mark external Oxford examination papers. In 1947, he became President of the Incorporated Association of Assistant Masters and afterwards their Honorary Secretary of the Oxford Standing Joint Committee and was extremely active in other important organisations not directly connected with the school.
In his spare time, though one may well wonder if he had any, he was an omnivorous reader, a bon vivant, and a generous host who presided over his Wyke Lodge parties, wreathed in tobacco smoke, with a Pickwickian benevolence. He was fond of his pipe and his pint and he was a fluent raconteur whose stories were enriched by repetition."
Steve White's views are those of one coming later to the scene:
"One of my great regrets is that I knew Christopher Cozens only during the last six years or so of his life. When one saw the enthusiasm and dedication that he was able to bring to Peter Symonds' affairs during what must, of necessity, have been his declining years, one could only wonder at the kind of man he must have been in his twenties and thirties.
In all the human activities in which I have had some measure of success, I have always found that to study the expert is one of the surest ways to improvement. In my early days at Peter Symonds, there were two or three clear experts to be studied, but none had such a profound effect upon me as CJC.
To say that a man who was so kind and helpful to me instilled in me a feeling of awe gives an impression of a distant, lofty figure, in some way rather unapproachable, and this, as far as I am concerned, he never proved to be, for all the reassurance that I could get when I entered on my motor bike on that January day in 1950 CJC. put me at my ease from the start.
Yet speaking to boys who were at school at that time, one finds that they often use the word “awesome" as they look back at him across the years. certainly looking.  Although I was older and more experienced than most students embarking on their first teaching practice, I was looking back on it and knowing subsequently what a busy man he was, I marvel that he was prepared to give up the time to ensure that I got off to as good a start as possible.
Although it is more than forty years ago, I can remember vividly those sessions in Baker Room (now the General Office) with, as usual, the windows and doors open, even though it was mid‑winter, and the certain feeling, never revised, that here was a real master in action.

I was one of the few on School Practice to be subjected to an inspection by the External examiner. This daunting episode also took place in Baker Room with one of the fifth forms as the victims. What Cozy had said to them I do not know but to underline the crucial nature of the exercise, he accompanied the examiner into the room, enquired whether I had everything that I needed, surveyed the audience and retired. They could hardly have been more co‑operative. Several of his teaching devices I used until my retirement, including the weekly test and running league table, which I have no doubt would be frowned upon in certain educational circles group I think, although Freddie Johnson is the only one that I can actually recall, and CJC. used to set them about half‑a‑dozen questions to be done during the week. Cozy was often away on Saturday morning on AMA business and he used to give me the questions on a Thursday and ask me to go over them on Saturday. I can remember even now the hours I used to put in on Thursday and Friday evening so as to have a reasonable mastery by the Saturday morning. I have no doubt that they were pretty routine questions to him and that he had no idea of the great struggle I was having each week.

He was a complete master of his trade and I have never ceased to wonder at the facility with which he could conjure a question out of his head just when he needed it ‑ not for him the feverish search throughout the text book ‑ out it came pat with just the right numbers to give a reasonable and uncomplicated answer. I do not think that the idea of having a mathematical syllabus within the school ever occurred to him ‑ he assumed that all the mathematics staff knew what ought to be taught and were getting on with it.
Needless to say, no boy ever considered giving him any disciplinary trouble in his classroom, but some amusing tales are told of his methods for dealing with happenings outside the classroom. These applied particularly to boarders. One of his favourite tricks was to send the unfortunate offender with a message for Jack Northeast in Crawley early in the morning. A reply was required before morning school. It is said that the owner of an allotment in Bereweeke Road once complained to CJC. that some of the Wyke Lodge boarders were pinching his carrots. Nothing was said but the next few meals served in the boarding house consisted of carrots and only carrots. The problem was cured.
During the years between 1950 and 1955, Cozy was certainly the dominant figure as far as the staff and the boys were concerned. He ran the day to day affairs of the school and Doc seemed more concerned with the relationships with the City and with the Authority. CJC. never seemed idle. I cannot recall him sitting back reading a newspaper or engaging in indolent chatter. There was always something to be done. The photograph I have of him in my room conjures his most frequent scene of action ‑ sitting at the head of the table in the old Staff Room marking scripts, checking timetables or carrying out one of the multitude of tasks that he set for himself."

Posted by Doug Clews 09 April 2009


MEMORIES OF Mr. John L. 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

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 boarders 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 on 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.


GEORGE PIERCE - Sixty Years of Cricket Memories  

Reprinted by kind permission of the Hampshire Chronicle

Many thanks to Jim Wishart for this one ...
Doug Clews 12th. April 2009

During a cricket career spanning 60 years, George Pierce found his love for the game, and the natural world, satisfied on the beautiful village grounds of his native Hampshire.
The setting of the game was always important to him and the downland wickets at Owslebury, on which he was brought up, were, and still are, a source of constant pleasure.
They provided him with a rich vein of material on which to draw for an article he wrote in the famous country publication, ‘The Field’ magazine. “Downland wickets are very springy and have a character all of their own. In those days there were no gang mowers. You had some long grass in the outfield so you could not score fours. You had to hit a six to get a boundary,” said Mr. Pierce. ''You could be fielding in the deep and find skylark nests with eggs in them, nests of partridges, or a hare. If Owslebury were playing some rather more important team, the farmer would get the shepherds to bring the sheep up and get the grass down a bit. They left hazards that ruined a few pairs of trousers. I remember playing at Compton, down by the school. I went back for a catch in the outfield and fell over a sow with a litter of pigs. It all added to the interest of the game,” he continued. ''If a ball could not be found, and many were not, the fielders had to shout 'lost ball' and the batsmen would get six runs. If you did not shout 'lost ball' they could keep running. There were some fine goings on when you pretended not to find the ball and then ran someone out”, he recalled.
Now 75, Mr. Pierce only retired from playing three years ago, and recently relinquished his Chairmanship of Old Symondians, a post he had held since the club was formed 32 years ago.
He was born in Owslebury, the eldest son of the village school Headmaster, whose name was also George. His mother, Daisy, taught at the school.
When Mr. Pierce senior was called up at the start of the Great War,
Mrs. Pierce took over the running of the school.
''My father said: ‘You’re in charge now, my son, I will expect your to look after your mother and brothers.’ No sooner had he gone when I set into my two brothers and gave them a hiding and said: ‘Dad’s told me to look after you,’ he fondly remembered.
For his work in education Mr. Pierce senior was rewarded with an MBE and the school won the ‘All England Bird and Tree Shield’.
After Owslebury school, the young Mr. Pierce became a pupil at Peter Symonds' School in Winchester, cycling there and back every day. ''It got pretty miserable if you got wet through on your way to school, because you could not dry yourself. I sometimes smile a bit wryly when you find people cannot now get to school because the bus is not running”, he declared.
Mr. Pierce went everywhere by foot or bike, whether he was playing for Owslebury school or travelling to the County ground in Southampton for coaching. As a teenager he played for the village team as well as for Peter Symonds', where he was destined to become captain of cricket.
''In those days we used to play Tichborne. That was a real estate ground; old Sir Joseph Tichborne was alive. He used to have his marquee and house parties. Young Tony Tichborne used to play as a boy. The butler was the umpire. In one game there was an appeal for a stumping, but he gave not out; an appeal for leg before, not out; an appeal for a catch at the wicket, not out. The butler eventually said 'His Lordship is not at home'. It was very good fun''.
From 1928 to 1930, Mr. Pierce studied at the teacher training college in Winchester and took up his first teaching position at Christchurch.
There he taught the former Hampshire wicket-keeper, Leo Harrison, and turned out for the Bournemouth Sports Club during the summer. In 1933 he returned to his old school in Winchester to teach English, and he was allowed to take natural history as a non-examination subject.
One of the most memorable moments of that period was a match between Winchester College and Peter Symonds' in 1936. Appearing for the College that day was the young William Whitelaw, who went on to become a leading Conservative politician and a Viscount. He made 127 opening the batting before he was dismissed by EW Eveleigh, another young man destined for high office as the Rt. Hon. Edward Walter Eveleigh, Lord Justice of Appeal. In that same match Mr. Pierce was Peter Symonds' top scorer, run out with his total on 54. Three years earlier, he had made his first ever century, 103 including 17 boundaries, for Old Symondians against Old Eggar’s.
During the thirties, Mr. Pierce began a long association with St. Cross Cricket Club, and was made captain after the war. He also played for The Hampshire Eskimos, a team of Hampshire farmers who came together to play the Invalids, a London press XI. ''The Invalids were formed in protest at the encroachment of the football season on the cricket season”, Mr. Pierce recalled. ''They challenged a team of local farmers to a game on a matting wicket at Broadhalfpenny Down on New Year's Day in 1926 or 1927. It was filmed and I remember going to watch it. The hounds met on the pitch. They had a bagged fox. Away went the hounds after the fox and they got on with the game. It was a three sweater day. They said they would repeat it every year, which they never did, but it caused the creation of the Hampshire Eskimos,'' he continued. ''The Eskimos had a white blazer with a red running fox and an Australian style white cap. That was a good class of cricket”, he enthused.
To this day a plaque commemorating the Eskimos' first game was kept at the famous Bat and Ball public house on Broadhalfpenny Down.
During the war Mr. Pierce was stationed at Lincoln, where he was a physical fitness officer in Bomber command. “I met a lot of first class cricketers, and had my best cricket in the Air Force. The most distinguished thing I did was to run out the captain of England, Bob Wyatt. Unfortunately, we were on the same side. I was not too popular I may say,” he joked.
One summer a match was organised between a strong team representing the National Fire Service and RAF Scampton, at the Lincoln County Ground. 'The Fire Service team included the Langridge brothers, John and James, Harold Gimlett and Snowden, the captain of North Hants. It was for their charity. I captained the Air Force. When the day broke it was pouring with rain, but it cleared up. They batted first and got a hell of a lot of runs before declaring at tea. After tea we were 50 without loss. Someone said the pubs were open and we were all out for 66,” said Mr. Pierce.
He reminisced about another game before the war when he played for Bramshaw against Hampshire. “We had 15 runs against 11, and I remember bowling against Philip Mead. He had a bat like a barn door, and I never got a ball past him''.
Another of his adversaries was the legendary England cricket captain CB Fry. He played against him at the Royal Navy training establishment, HMS Mercury, and later met him on a train from London to Winchester.
''Sitting opposite me was CB Fry. He had a monocle. I said: ‘I played against you sir, at the training ship Mercury.' He replied 'Did you? Did you get me out?’ I said ‘No’. He said 'I did not think so, otherwise I would have remembered you.’ With that he started reading ‘The Times' and did not speak again said Mr. Pierce.
In the early 1950’s he suggested the idea of forming an Old Symondians’ Cricket Club to a group of boys who had finished their A levels. “They were very suspicious at the beginning,” he explained “but after mulling it over that is what they did, and I became the Chairman” he explained. Since then he has been on every Old Boy’s tour and between 1960 and 1971 his slow left arm bowling earned him the Cany Cup as the club’s top wicket-taker.
He took his last hat-trick after reaching the grand old age of 70 in a third XI match. “They called it a geri-atric”, he quipped.
Mr. Pierce is a member of the MCC, and one of the highlights of his playing career came when he represented that club in the King Edward VI School in the Southampton Centenary match. ''I thought I was in as a bowler, but I made the top score for the MCC with 31 before I was out leg before.
Mr. Pierce, who was affectionately known to his pupils as ''Tom'', retired from teaching in 1974, and the Old Boys made him a life member of the Hampshire County Cricket Club.
He spent the following winter in Australia with former teaching colleague, Mr. Eric Hammond, watching the England Test series and made another visit four years later.
Much has changed in the sixty years since Mr. Pierce first held a cricket bat, and he feels the gang mower has had the biggest impact. ''The outfield was cut, and that made a tremendous difference to the run scoring,” he explained. ''Everything has improved. The gear has improved. I remember at Owslebury we did not have enough pads to wear. You had one pad, which you were supposed to put on your front leg. One day the local Vicar went out with the pad on the wrong leg, and he said he thought he was going to bat at the other end! There were very few white flannels then. Villagers turned up in their best blue trousers, braces and belts. They were looked on as a bit of a pansy if they started wearing whites,” he continued.
The one thing Mr. Pierce regrets is the demise of cricket in schools. “You need good wickets, outfields, nets and equipment, and that adds up to too much money and time for most of the Council schools. Unless the clubs have youth teams the boys are going to miss out”, he said.


Memories of Mr F E Gladwell 

Posted by Jim Wishart 09 June 2010

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 School Nostalgia web-site.



1 comment:

  1. Tom Pierce also taught 'Nature studies' which as I recall, involved removing the bindweed for the garden outside his classroom.


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