Mr. C. J. Ford BSc (Liverpool)
From the Summer 1964 Soham Grammarian:
After thirty-eight years, Mr. C. J. Ford will be retiring from full-time teaching at the end of this term. His whole teaching life has been spent in the service of Soham Grammar School. He came here in 1926, during the headmastership of Mr. C. J. Platt, in time to see the transfer from the old school to the present site; served throughout the Headmasterships of Mr.B.J.A.Neill and Mr.S.Stubbs; and during the long reign of the present Headmaster, taking over the position of Second Master from Mr. L. G. Johnson when the latter retired in 1953.
Though primarily a chemist, Mr. Ford - the school being much smaller in those days - was responsible at first for Botany and Zoology, in addition to Chemistry. His skill as a teacher and his ability to command the full co-operation of his pupils combined to achieve a high level of success in his subjects. Many of his pupils have gone on to further successes, as witness the string of Ph.D.s - seven at least - who began their careers under his guidance.
For the first half of his career at Soham, Mr. Ford was responsible for the cricket of the school, in addition to acting as unpaid groundsman and giving useful service with football and athletics.
Mr C Chas/Charlie John Ford
from the Summer 1964 magazine
photo by Mr AE Lawrance
On the retirement of Mr. Johnson in 1953, he became Second Master: his promotion came in a period of expansion of numbers, staff and buildings; of experimentation in many fields - the breaking down of the old streaming system and its replacement by experimental option schemes, whose implementation in a two-stream school requires (in order to maintain the necessary balance) just that touch of genius which Mr. Ford possesses for the manipulation of time-tables. His modesty and unselfishness, his endless patience and tact, his ready sympathy and practical help, together with his ability to smooth the ruffled tempers of the Staff-room, have all contributed to his success in this position.
With all this, he still finds time to give a lead in public service: he has for many years been a regular Blood Donor and is Local Sector Warden in the Civil Defence Corps.
His coming retirement marks the end of an era in the school's history. He has seen its fortunes rise from the unhappy days when there was a serious threat of its extinction as a grammar school to its present proud position, and can claim some share of the credit for the change. We have the consolation of knowing that he will not be abandoning us entirely, but will continue to serve part-time for a while at least. His wit and wisdom and most of all his kindly understanding of all our particular problems and difficulties at all levels in the school, will still be at our disposal, for which, to name but two, the Headmaster and the writer of this article will be truly thankful.
newspaper cutting via Mrs Armitage
The lawns of Soham Grammar School and the school itself, were the scene of great activity on Saturday when the school held a mammoth fete in aid of the fund to build a Scout Hut.
Stalls and sideshows were laid out on the lawn and in the school exhibitions covering the whole range of school work were to be seen.
The fete was opened by Mrs CJ Ford, whose father built the house which is now the Grammar School, and whose association with the school has been continued through the years by the fact that her husband has been a member of the staff for 38 years.
This is also Mr Ford's last year on the staff and to mark his retirement the Old Boys' Association presented him with a powered lawn mower.
The presentation was made by Mr Lionel Fleet, a former pupil, who later returned to the school to teach in Mr Ford's department.
Accepting the gift, Mr Ford said he was unable properly to express his feelings of gratitude. Having completed his 114th term he felt it was time to "declare his innings closed" but hoped to be of some further use to the school having been asked to come back next term as "twelfth man."
At the opening Mrs Ford was presented with a magnificent travelling rug, a gift of the pupils, and the headmaster, Mr E Armitage, commented that in view of her long association with the school they had felt that the occasion should be commemorated with something more permanent than the usual gift of flowers.
via Gwyn Murfet
Newmarket Journal, Thursday, July 25, 1968
LOOK AT THIS MAN WITH PRIDE
Mr E Armitage, headmaster of Soham Grammar School, paid a warm tribute to Mr C Ford, a former deputy headmaster at the school at Speech Day on Wednesday.
Mr Armitage said: "Mr Ford, who began a semi-retirement four years ago, at last lays down his teaching role at Soham Grammar School and I could say that part of the school retires with him. But while he continues to live, as he does with his wife, at the bottom of the school drive, he knows that he will always be persona grata at all our functions, and as often as he cares to share our mid-morning cups of tea."
"The schoolmaster-gentleman now leaves the classroom and if, in the future, as he walks across the lawn, some small boy asks an older boy who that man is, we hope that he will say with pride 'He was an important part of Soham Grammar School for 42 years'. " ...
'SENEX' wrote in the Summer 1961 Soham Grammarian
Pygmalion was another evocation. When Mr CW Crouch joined the staff circa 1926 his ideas on music, painting and drama were soon felt, in the town as in the school. In due time he helped in getting together a drama group formed of like-minded Soham people, excluding SGS pupils. Their first production was Chas Hawtrey's The Private Secretary, a farce which delighted the full houses in the Conservative Hall and exploited a rich vein of comedy in Messrs. Crouch and Peet whose performances must still be remembered.
Charles Hawtreys Private Secretary. CJF middle, in dog collar. Festival Theatre Cambridge, 31 March 1927
Mention of Mr Peet reminds me of an incident in the fourth form when a swallow found its way into a geography lesson. After a good deal of aimless darting about it found its exit through the window but not before leaving a visiting card on Mr Peet's gown.
Emboldened by the Hawtrey success the Soham Players put on Pygmalion which although it was better drama was not nearly so successful in that particular locale. It should be remembered that the typical Soham audience of those days had not had the opportunities of acquaintance with radio and television plays which is theirs today. The six-lettered word did not go down well with the chapel-goers who formed a large part of the audience.
The disadvantage of these goings-on from the point of view of the boys was that in the next few Art and English lessons we were required to draw and write (respectively) our impressions of the plays. full article
Newmarket Journal, Thursday July 18 1985: via Gwyn Murfet
Mr C. J. Ford
The funeral service took place at St Andrew's Church, Soham, on Thursday of the much loved former deputy headmaster of the old Soham Grammar School, Mr John Ford, who died in Newmarket General Hospital on July 5. He was 83.
Mr Ford was born and educated in Liverpool but was a school master in Soham for all of his teaching career. His main subject was chemistry and his first post was as chemistry master at the Grammar School. He later became senior master and deputy headmaster.
He was well known and respected by everyone in Soham and will be long remembered for his kind nature which showed both in and out of his school life. Mr Ford was very interested in the work of the Bishop Laney Trust, to which he was educational adviser.He was also in enthusiastic gardener and spent much of his latter years caring for his garden at Addison House, Sand Street, Soham. Mr Ford also enjoyed sport, particularly tennis and badminton.
He leaves a widow, Mrs Winifred Ford, two daughters, Mrs Mary Wallis and Mrs Ann Jarman and five grandchildren.
Family mourners were: Mrs Winifred Ford, Mr and Mrs David Wallis, Mr and Mrs Michael Jarman, Naomi, Stephen and Dominic Wallis, Mrs M. Hyde and Mrs J. Pidsley.
Those present at the church: Mr R. Dean, Mrs R. Hayley, Mr and Mrs E. Wilson, Mrs Rose Dingle (Mr and Mrs E. Armitage), Mr and Mrs J. W. Butler, Miss Leonard, Mrs Boyce, Miss A. Burkinshaw, Mr Bill Hawes, Mr M. Hood, Mr A. Gardner, Mr Leslie Reed, Mr H. Yeomans, Mr J. Chapman, Mr B. H. Roythorne, Miss Proctor, Mrs J. Peloe, Mrs J. S. Newman (South East Cambridgeshire Conservative Association), Mr and Mrs Jos Martin, Mrs M. Fordham, Mr and Mrs R. Lowe, Mrs Sybil Murfitt (Mr Robert Murfitt), Mrs Bent (Mr Bent).
Staff of Fire Engine House, Ely, Mr I. Wright, Mr A. Peacock. Mr and Mrs Scrivener, Mr W. J. Gidney, Mr and Mrs Saunders, Mr and Mrs A. Heseltine, Mrs G. Smith, Mrs Walling, Mr and Mrs R. H. Morton, Mr J. Webster, Mr and Mrs C. Palmer, Mr and Mrs J. Browning, Mr S. W. Woods, Mr and Mrs Easy.
Mr E. R. Simkin, Mr A. J. Brown, Mr M. Misin, Miss York, Mrs Doe, Mrs R. Lund, Mrs J. Makin (Mr J. Makin), Mr P. Handley, Mr O. Bethell, Mr W. Gidney, Mr G. Phelps (Mr G. Parr), Mr R. G. Neal, Mr A. W. Bullock (SVC), Mr R. G. S. Bullock (SVC), Mrs K. Leonard (rep Mr K. Leonard), Mrs R. J. Leonard, Mr M. Murfitt, Mr Oliver and Mary Fyson, Mr A. King, Mr and Mrs A. E. Lawrance.
Mrs E. Doty, Col and Mrs J. Ennion, Rev and Mrs Harrison, Mrs M. Burroughs, Mrs Trinder, Mr R. Palmer, Mrs B. Riley (Susan, Brigid and Kevin), Mrs Rouse ( Miss Bridgeman and Mrs S. Taylor), Mr J. Unwin, Mr J. T. Cornell, Mr G. C. White, Mr and Mrs E. H. Tabraham, Mrs Fuller (Mr R. W. Fuller), Mr and Mrs J. Green, Mr M. Nunn (Lloyds Bank).
Dr Ian Baker (Bishop Laney Charity), Mrs J. Scott, Mr A. Owers, Mr V. Moll, Mrs E. Wrench (Mr and Mrs J. Chapman), Mrs V. Pettitt, Mr R. A. Taylor (Mr E. Armitage), Mr L. Long, Mr and Mrs P. Hitchcock, Mr and Mrs D. Leonard, Mrs E. Austin, Mrs S. Timmins, Mrs J. Aspland, Mr W. Sharp, Mrs I. Bobby, Mrs Badcock, Mr P. Askem, Mr and Mrs C. Talbot (Dr A. Eden), Mr R. Fernie (Mr G. Fernie), Mr Francis Pym MP (Mrs Pym), Mr and Mrs R. Bamford (Mr J. Grain), Mr and Mrs D. Bradford, Mr O. J. Smith, Mrs A. L. Law, Mr L. R. Hart, Mrs Morbey, Miss R. Morbey, Mr and Mrs A. Morbey, Mrs Cooper, Mr Crouch, Mr R. G. Wood (Mr A. J. Abbott and City of Ely College), Mr Maxey, Mr and Mrs N. Shannassy (Mr and Mrs A. Bland), Mrs Newport (Mr Newport), Mrs B. Martin (Mr T. Martin), Mrs A. Griggs (Mr Griggs and Mr and Mrs R. H. Lee).
Ely Standard 11 July 1985 (by Edward Armitage)
Mr Cecil Ford
The funeral will be held today (Thursday) of the former deputy headmaster of the old Soham Grammar School, Mr Cecil John Ford. Mr Ford (83), who died on Friday at Newmarket General Hospital, was schoolmaster at Soham for all his teaching career. He was born and educated in Liverpool.
Mr Ford had been a keen tennis and badminton player. He also played bridge and enjoyed looking after his garden at Addison House, Sand Street, Soham. Mr Ford leaves a widow, Winnifred Mary, two daughters, Mrs Ann Jarman and Mrs Mary Wallis, and five grandchildren.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of former pupils will mourn the passing last week of John Ford who for virtually the whole of his teaching life was chemistry master and later senior master and deputy head of Soham Grammar School. By the very nature of their profession and through understandable ambition, most schoolmasters stay at a particular school for only a few years and their influence on the school and the locality is, however great at the time, only fleeting.
But when a good schoolmaster decides to stay at a particular school, his effect on the school and on his pupils increases proportionately with every year that passes. So it was with Soham Grammar School and with John Ford. Throughout his long career he not only taught successfully at the highest (Sixth Form) level but exerted an influence that went far beyond the classroom. His pupils will remember that he showed them how it is possible to combine good teaching with discipline, courtesy and good manners.
Never self-seeking, exuding always an air of country charm and calm, John Ford was an adornment to his profession who will long be remembered with affection by his colleagues and his pupils.
via Gwyn Murfet
Newmarket Journal, 18th July 1985
Mr John Ford, former deputy headmaster of Soham Grammar School, whose funeral took place on Thursday.
The funeral service took place at St Andrew's Church, Soham, on Thursday of the much loved former deputy headmaster of the old Soham Grammar School, Mr John Ford, who died in Newmarket General Hospital on July 5. He was 83. Mr Ford was born and educated in Liverpool but was a school master in Soham for all of his teaching career. His main subject was chemistry and his first post was as chemistry master at the Grammar School. He later became senior master and deputy headmaster.
He was well known and respected by everyone in Soham and will be long remembered for his kind nature which showed both in and out of his school life. Mr Ford was very interested in the work of the Bishop Laney Trust, to which he was educational adviser.
He was also an enthusiastic gardener and spent much of his latter years caring for his garden at Addison House, Sand Street, Soham. Mr Ford also enjoyed sport, particularly tennis and badminton. He leaves a widow, Mrs Winifred Ford, two daughters, Mrs Mary Wallis and Mrs Anne Jarman and five grandchildren.
Newmarket Journal, Thursday, July 25, 1985: via Gwyn Murfet
Mrs W. Ford
Exactly a fortnight after the death of her husband John, Mrs Winifred Ford died in Newmarket General Hospital on Friday.
Mrs Ford, who was 88, collapsed suddenly on July 12, the day after the funeral of her husband, who was the much loved former deputy headmaster of the old Soham Grammar School.
She was admitted to hospital for the first time in, her life and although she seemed to be making a good recovery she had a second heart attack which proved just too much for her, said one of her two daughters, Mrs Anne Jarman.
On her mother's side, Mrs Ford came from an old established Soham farming family. Her mother was Susannah Staples* and her father was Charles Morbey, a Midlander who ran away from his public school to become a jockey in Newmarket.
His success on the Turf enabled him to invest in property and, following his marriage, he and Susannah lived at The Moat in Soham and then built Beechhurst now part of the Village College, where their family was trought up. Winifred was the youngest of six children, three boys and three girls.
Following her marriage to Liverpool-born schoolmaster, John Ford, over 53 years ago, she-made her home at Addison House in Sand Street and watched with interest the transformation of her old home into an integral part of the school.
She passed on to her own daughters the stories of her father, who numbered Edward VII among his friends. Among her possessions was Charles Morbey's wedding present from the King's mistress Lily Langtry.
Educated by a governess at home, Mrs Ford became a nurse during the First World War and, following her marriage, ran a YMCA canteen during World War Two. In the 1950s, while her daughters were at boarding school, she ran the county library which had then newly opened in Soham.
Her last surviving brother died only last year, aged 90, and she is survived by her daughters and five grandchildren.
The funeral service will be held at Soham Parish Church tomorrow (Friday) at 2.30 pm.
[actually Susannah Staples Jugg, known as Annie - Ed]
from the Soham Lodestar, Soham Parish Magazine, September 1985: source Gwyn Murfet
A Great Sorrow in Soham CECIL JOHN and WINIFRED MARY FORD - united in life and united in death.
It was a great sorrow for Soham when Mr. John Ford died so suddenly. He had lived here for more than fifty years, actively engaged in many pursuits and interests, sport, gardening, political affairs, the Bishop Laney Charity, and much else. Above all, he had been Deputy Head of the former Grammar School, and a former pupil The Reverend Gwyn Murfet, now Vicar of Kirkby-in-Furness, Cumbria, returned to take part in the Funeral Service. The huge number present attested to his many friedships, and they will ever remember his many amusing stories. His widow and daughters, Mary and Ann, saw it through magnificently. But for Winifred it was really her last duty, before she 'packed her case and left us' because fifty-two years of married life wasn't to be spoilt by the intrusion of death. So this lovely lady whom we shall ever hold dear in our hearts, and who had carried the Prayer Book to church every Sunday that John had given her on their honeymoon, fifty-two years ago, gave a few days warning to her daughters, with characteristic thoughtfulness, and then peacefully left this world. Our sorrow is overwhelmed by a deep thankfulness.
Do you have any appreciations, anecdotes or other photos relating to Mr Ford? please contact the editor
Terry Allen 39 (8 Mar 2005): Charley Ford (Chemistry): I never had him as a teacher but when I was in the Upper Fifth he was the form master. I remember that on one morning prior to prayers we were in class waiting our cue to go into the Hall and I was sitting in the front row (for some reason I was always made to sit in the front) Mr Ford was directly in front of me, about 3 feet away, and as you do, I accidentally pulled a cigarette out of my pocket which fell to the floor. Keeping my eyes firmly on him I reached down and blindly retrieved the cigarette. Whew! that was a close one.
Wilkes Walton 36 (26 Oct 2006): The ammunition train explosion at Soham station on 2 June 1944 involved Mr Ford as he was ARP Post Warden. The explosion was heard in Cambridge where I was on my RAF Short Course at Emmanuel, having left school at Easter. Dink Palmer [SG37] remembers his bedroom window being blown in.
Richard Watts (also a Soham lad [SG39]) passed on to me a book But for Men Such as These, by Anthony Day (SB Publications, 1994). The introduction says "The title words were spoken by the Reverend Fletcher Boughey in Soham church on Sunday 4th June 1944 in preface to his tribute to the four brave railwaymen who, two days earlier, had saved the town of Soham from virtual destruction". The list of acknowledgements includes Ann Jarman (née Ford) and Pat and Les Seal [SG32].
On p29 the book says "John Ford, the Biology and Chemistry Master and Deputy Headmaster at the Grammar School awoke in the belief , like many another, that this was a bombing from the air, inexplicably without siren warning. As ARP Post Warden he pulled his trousers over his pyjamas and cycled down Clay Street over glass - without getting a puncture - and joined the helpers. For a few days he was apt to be known as 'Bluey' for the colour of those pyjamas showing below his trousers. There had to be moments to ease the strain."
David Hobbs 49 (17 Nov 2009): Thank you for making Ann Jarman's presentation at the 2009 reunion available on the web-site. It is a fascinating account.
Those of us at school in 1953 knew that the C of C. J. Ford was not C for Charlie.
His predecessor as Second Master, 'Bish' Johnson, made a farewell speech in the Assembly Hall (the Conservatory) in which he let his hair down (metaphorically speaking!) and said "You might not know that Mr Ford, who is taking over from me, is not a Charlie, he is a Cecil". This was a revelation to us all, and poor Mr Ford hung his head in embarrassment.
from a late 1920s School photo
from the 1935 School photo
from the 1937 School photo
from the 1946 School photo
from the 1949 School photo
from the 1952 School photo
from the 1954 School photo
from the 1956 School photo
from the 1960 School photo
from the 1965 School photo
Charlie Ford, Summer 1968
see also the talk by one of his daughters, Mrs Ann Jarman, at the 2009 SG Dinner
if you can add to this page please contact the editor
last updated 23 Sep 2012