In September 1958 I found myself
in 1T (Taylor), sitting in alphabetical order, in the front
window seat of the parquet floored class room immediately to the
right of the main front door. During that term the school drive
was being resurfaced and I had a grand stand view of the work as
it progressed. And I regret to say that I spent rather more time
following the work outside than I did following the lessons.
Meanwhile, within the class room, the foundation blocks of
French (Mr Slim
Summerfield - “I'll hang you up by your
thumbs”) and Latin (Mr Sid
Saunders) grammar were being
carefully laid and the mysteries of algebra (Mr Dick
Housden) explained. RAT
Taylor was our Form master (“My
word, it's fact! Don't sit there like your grandsire cast in
alabaster!”) - a most capital fellow who taught us English,
History and Geography.
I tried to concentrate as hard as I could and hoped that all the
knowledge would soak into my brain by some kind of obscure
osmotic process, except that we had not yet reached osmosis in
biology (Mr Froggy
Watts). Alas, it did not. Everything
was very clear at the time of instruction but it seemed to have
floated away by the time it was required for tests and exams!
Never mind, everything finally turned out for the best.
In September 1959, the class moved on to the end of the upstairs
passageway and turn left 90 degrees. This term we were known as
2F (Frampton – Mr Basil
Frampton - another excellent
teacher). Here I sat at the back of the class, still in
alphabetical order, and before every new lesson I would go to
the end of the short passageway where I would peer around the
corner to announce when the next Master hove into view from the
staff room, so that order could be restored prior to his
arrival. This was fine, until Mr Slug
Riley caught us
all out by arriving via the fire escape from the court yard
With great regret, I left SGS in July 1960 when my parents moved
to Hertfordshire. I continued my studies at St Albans Grammar
School for Boys - a school double the size of SGS, with a
balcony in the school hall. An enormous shock to my system! But
that is another story.
Mr Rex Waller, who taught Latin, left SGS at the same time, for
Somerset it was said, and I never expected to see him again.
However, I was wrong. When I first met my wife in 1970 her Uncle
John, John Hayward, was Vicar at St Mary's, Bruton, Somerset. In
conversation he mentioned to me that Rex was deputy head at
Sexey's School and was his churchwarden - amongst so many other
things in the Parish.
John Hayward receives a mention in Tim Waller's address at his
father's memorial service at Bruton on 6 December 2008 (see
) in the “Alphabeticus Regis” under “O for
Operettas” when Rex cast him, the Vicar, as murderous Bill
My wife and her parents had met Rex and Joan often over the
years but I did not meet up with him until 1990, shortly after
his retirement, as I was working abroad for 9 months of every
year and was not often able to attend family gatherings. From
then on, we met up regularly together for lunch until his death
in 2008 and with Joan, until her death in November 2015. Rex and
Joan were a wonderful couple and I only wish that I had been a
better pupil of his. “This young man takes life too easily. Far
too satisfied with too little effort” was his verdict in one of
my reports and of course he was right.
As a footnote, had Rex been able to attend the Grammarians'
Dinner in 2008, we had planned that I would drive up from Devon
to Bruton, collect him and drive on to Soham together.
Unfortunately, a few weeks earlier Joan was admitted to hospital
so Rex had to call it off. And within a few weeks Rex himself
I left my copy of the school photograph of May 1960 in the SGS
staff room, with a request that all the staff might leave their
autographs upon it. And they all did - except one! (No names, no
pack drill). I had the greatest respect for all the staff
(apart, perhaps, that one) at Soham GS and look back on my two
years there with the happiest of memories.
You will find me in the 1960 School Photo directly behind Mr
Frampton and Mr Hammond and between Rodney Day and Lester
[1958 was one of the School List 'black hole' years in the later
1950s] The listing of the 1958 entry which I found on this
website was based on when they had reached the 4th Form, by
which time there had been several changes, including my
departure in 1960. The lists I made some time ago of my class
mates of 1T in 1958 and 2F in 1959 have now been added to the
1958 entry page.
I gained the impression that Cambridge boys at SGS were
considered a group apart. We were not of the Fens but hailed
from the city - as it became in 1951.
However, as far as I was concerned I had long standing family
connections with Soham – more than most of my contemporaries.
For reasons of my own I kept these to myself.
My grandfather, a dairy farmer at Whittlesey, was the son of a
Soham girl, Isabel Hart. Isabel's parents (my great great
grandparents) were William and Ann Hart. William was a
stationer, printer and bookseller in the town. I believe he was
also Deputy Bailiff, Broker and Soham Parish Clerk and
published/printed the Soham Parish Magazine. I believe that
there is still a brass plaque in his memory in St Andrew's
At the time of her marriage, Isabel was a 25 year old school
teacher at Coates (near Whittlesey) which is where she met my
great grandfather. They were married on 21 December 1885, I
assume at St Andrew's, Soham. Their first child, Dorothy Isabel
Setchfield, (my great aunt Dorothy - I remember her well) was
christened at St Andrew's on 29 July 1888.
Of further interest, Grammarian Charles F W Morbey was also
christened at St Andrew's two months later, on 20 September 1888
and was killed in WW1 on 9 August 1917.
I believe that he was Mrs Ford's brother. Having looked through
this website, I believe that their mother was Annie Jugg of an
“old Soham farming family”, who had married Charles Morbey.
Charles had started out as a jockey and later became a
successful businessman and racehorse trainer - owner of Red
, the joint winner of the 1893 Cesarewitch.
We have a family link with the Jugg family: precisely what this
is I have long forgotten but my grand-father had a cousin, Julia
Jugg, who died at March, Cambridgeshire in the 1930s? When
he took me to the SGS Summer Fair in 1958 (do you remember that?
What a successful day! With the Darby's fairground organ
churning out the tunes in the playground!) he told me of
visiting Beechurst to see Jockey
Morbey as a boy. So
might Julia Jugg have been one of Annie Jugg's sisters?
Whilst I was delighted to have attended SGS, my move to the very
much larger St Albans GS meant that the options available for O
Levels were much greater. At St Albans there was no Latin but
there was both Physics and Chemistry. This posed something of a
work up as both these subjects had been studied for 2 years by
the time I turned up in the 3rd year. Mr Parrot's General
Science (he was furious if anyone called it 'Genski', I recall)
had not prepared me for what was to come!
However, I would not recommend moving a child from one school to
another at that age. Apart from the slightly different syllabii
(both schools sat the Cambridge Board exams, but not the same
requirements), all the school teams had been selected well
before that stage. Most of the boys had been playing sports
against each other at primary school (as was the case with me at
Cambridge where two of the lads in 1T I knew from other city
primary school cricket teams). I could have been another Don
Bradman, but would have not had a look in, hitting a ball around
in a game at the far end of the playing field!
Soham was by far the friendlier school. The staff had more time
for us and the boys were not, in general, nasty to one another.
By contrast, the north London types I found at St Albans were an
altogether more ruthless lot!
However, I managed to achieve a creditable set of O Level grades
in everything, except French (which had been my best subject
until then!) and immediately after the 5th form I was able to go
to sea. Later, I found myself working in Francophone west Africa
and then in Marseille for 25 years where happily my French
language ability returned and improved, such that I seemed to