Mr SR Saunders MA (Cantab)

Soham Grammarian Autumn 1947

Our next task is a very pleasant one, namely to offer a welcome to the three new members of the staff, Mr. Browning, Mr. Catala, and Mr. Saunders. We hope that their stay with us will be long and happy.

Soham Grammarian Summer 1966


At the end of the Summer Term, there retires from our midst a master who has spent the last nineteen years teaching an astonishing variety of subjects in the Lower School. Mr. Saunders is the most modest of men. He disclaims all pretensions to academic distinction, but he has been a most valuable and valued member of the staff. Appointed in September 1947, after some experience in preparatory school teaching, he officially came to teach Mathematics, but soon found himself in charge of Scripture teaching, a job he has done ever since - as well as keeping a fatherly eye on the conduct of the Morning Assemblies.

Mr SR Saunders from the Summer 1966 magazine

During the last few years, he has taught mainly Latin, Scripture and Mathematics, but in his time he has also taught History, Geography and English. The number of masters left in any school who would undertake such a versatile role is diminishing fast; those of us on the staff who have the job of arranging the time-table each year will miss Mr. Saunders' contribution very much indeed.

Always a tolerant and kindly man, he never had recourse to any weapon more lethal than a worn-out slipper, and if education is really what is remembered when everything that was learned in the classroom has been forgotten, we dare say that the affectionate tales told about Mr. Saunders will be the best memorial to his long service here. From his Prep School background Mr. Saunders brought to the junior Forms he taught at Soham ideals of gentlemanly bearing and behaviour which did much to formulate the general tone of the school. His influence, both within the Staff Room and outside it, was a truly civilising one.

As producer and actor, he did much to establish a lively dramatic tradition in school, and no one could have supported more loyally and regularly school cricket and football fixtures and the Fenland Sports. He takes an active interest in the Old Boys' Association, and has in his time held important office with them. Old Boys who have been taught by him will join with all of us in wishing him very well in his retirement, and hoping that he will return to us on as many school occasions as he can.

Soham Grammarian Summer 1967

Annual OB Dinner December 1966 - The Old Boy's retirement gift to Mr Saunders was a garden seat. In a brief speech of reply Mr Saunders left no doubt that the choice would take some of his school habits into retirement - referring to after dinner naps in a shady spot.

from the 1954 School photo

from the 1956 School photo

from the 1960 School photo

from the 1965 School photo

In 1982 Mrs Marion Saunders retired as Head of the Acremont Preparatory School, Ely, which was bought by the Kings' School Ely.

Mrs Saunders started the school in 1949 at 24 Back Hill, Ely, with eight pupils. In 1982 it had about 120 pupils, aged between four and eleven.

The CEN report of her retirement added that Mrs Saunders and her husband, "a retired teacher", were remaining in Ely for their retirement.

It is believed that Mr Saunders died in 1992: the death of SAUNDERS, Stewart Robertson was registered at Ely in July 1992.

If you have a report of his death or an obituary, please contact us.

Mrs & Mr Saunders
image adapted from the
Cambridge Evening News, 10th July, 1982

David Clayton 54 recalls: Stuart Saunders was very much the same [as Ken Holt, teacher at Ely Silver Street] - in slightly old-fashioned terms, civilised but also clubbable. A few memories that you may not consider suitable eulogies return: at least twice he sent me to the Headmaster for 'witty remarks' that he considered to be impertinent only to send a classmate to haul me back before I had slowly trudged too far down the corridor (experience had already taught me that Mr Armitage wielded a heavy cane) - his short temper was very short lived and he would be laughing as he told me to sit down and keep quiet.

These were the days when smoking was still considered to be a suitable occupation for a man, and doctors had ashtrays on their desks: I acquired a lack of punctuality at an early age and often missed the bus from Ely to Soham so would walk and/or hitch hike (if I walked I could get to school in time for mid-morning break). If I was only just too late for the bus I would usually be in time for Mr Saunders' Austin Somerset to be passing - he had a 'just in time' policy for morning assembly.

Knowing that I smoked, having apprehended me a few times (it really was behind the bike shed), he would ask if I would kindly light a Craven A for him so that he could keep his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, it would usually take me a few puffs to be sure that the cigarette was properly alight. He once came into Mr Atkinson's music class (due to overexposure, it was twenty years before I could listen to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik again) asking to speak to me outside; I nervously followed him out, and was alarmed to be asked if by any chance I had any cigarettes because, and relief set in here, he had run out and couldn't sneak out to buy some. Fortunately I had liberated a few from my grandmother that very morning. O tempora! O mores!

With thanks to Chris Jakes, The Cambridgeshire Collection
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last updated 8 Dec 10