Staff Retirements


Mari-Carmen Griffith (by Richard Thompson)

Whereas most schools hang on to their Spanish assistant for one or, at best, two years, Haberdashers' held on to Mari- Carmen for thirty-four years. This proved to be crucial in maintaining consistency in the department and meant that as those years passed, the pupils benefited a huge amount from Mari-Carmen's experience and knowledge. What never changed in all that time, however, were her youthful spirit and her drive to improve her pupils' grasp of Spanish.

Mari-Carmen is always willing to go way beyond the call of duty. Improving the pupils' accents, grammar, vocabulary and oral fluency was of course a priority, but also, she made sure that they understood the topics that they were studying. In this sense, she really did 'assist' the teachers and by putting in extra hours and extra marking, she had a massive role in boosting what was being taught. Mari- Carmen accompanied trips to Spain where she loved to show her country to pupils; most recently, she particularly enjoyed taking the Year 8 pupils to Barcelona. One of her real qualities is being able to engage with and inspire older and younger pupils alike-the Year 7 quizzes and Christmas events gave her plenty of joy.

Mari-Carmen's experience was essential in guiding pupils of different levels through different exams and as the exam requirements changed throughout the years, she was never fazed by new boards and new topics that she had to teach. All pupils who were taught by Mari-Carmen and staff who worked with her will never forget the high standards that she set in terms of the variety of vocabulary and idiom that one should use when speaking Spanish. Her encouragement towards teaching more traditional literary texts and the sense of historical perspective that she brought to the department added a great deal to the success of the academic teaching and learning of Spanish at Haberdashers'. More importantly, the support she gave young colleagues not just in Spanish, but in the MFL department as a whole was often vital in helping them settle in their new careers.

Mari-Carmen will be hugely missed at Haberdashers'. The MFL department and Common Room will be strangely quiet without her presence.


Paul Marx (by Andy Ward)

Paul Marx arrived at Habs in September 1988, and was a perfect fit for the Maths department on three counts. Firstly, he was a highly skilled and instantly popular mathematics teacher; secondly, a multi-talented sportsman and thirdly, a kindred spirit of Stephen Charlwood and a good number of the student body as a Tottenham Hotspur supporter.

Paul had the knack of taking on the more thought provoking problems which occasionally surface in the department, and of providing impossibly elegant solutions. I still prize his hand-written sheets (probably written before Microsoft Word and ECDL became commonplace) detailing three different methods of identifying the odd one out of a set of seemingly identical objects. His calm and pensive manner was the measure of the man; Paul was a great analyst, a skill he passed on to a generation of Habs mathematicians.

Paul also slotted in neatly as virtually the whole department headed out to Games on a Wednesday afternoon. I was especially grateful to form a partnership with him coaching senior Game 2 Rugby in the days when Harrow, Haileybury, Dulwich and Bedford were regular visitors to Elstree. As a proponent of the round ball footballing code I was more than happy to allow Paul to run the coaching sessions in Games while I took on the lion's share of 3rd XV fixtures, with Paul mopping up the 4th XV calendar. His coaching was similar to his teaching - direct, clear and effective. I probably learned as much as the boys! His first sporting love, however, is cricket and for 19 of his 23 years at Habs he organised (meticulously!) and coached the U14A XI with much success. A useful player himself (Habs teams visiting UCS would always seek out his name on the Honours Boards in the pavilion), he graced many a staff XI, bowling his leg-breaks with tight control while his forcing shots off the back foot through the covers will live long in the memory.

Paul also turned his organisational abilities to the Senior Ski Trip, proving a very efficient party leader on many occasions. Indeed, how Paul managed to arrange his sabbatical term by moving his whole family to the French Alps in order to develop his Skiing and Statistics teaching simultaneously remains a mystery to this day....

Paul was also a stalwart of school bridge for over twenty years. He ran the bridge club, either with a colleague or alone all that time and enjoyed enormous success. He nurtured at least ten junior international players and coached at least five teams which have won the British Schools Cup. As well as that, he fostered a club with relatively small numbers into a welcoming place where boys of all abilities come to enjoy a game of bridge. He was recognised by the English Bridge Union for his commitment to school bridge and he will be sorely missed by the bridge players of the school.

Not content with all of this, Paul also fulfilled the role of School timetabler for over a decade, every year managing to negotiate the minefield successfully, simultaneously catering to the requests of Heads of Departments without a fuss.

We were delighted to welcome Paul back into the fold for a brief period of cover for Paternity leave, but we wish Paul and Tammy a well-earned rest in their new home in Devon.


Ken Jones (by Ian Phillips)

Mr Jones retired from Habs in the summer 2011 after seven very successful years. Everyone knows he is a gentleman of the first order, chivalrous, dependable a real school teacher. One thing is for sure - we will miss him although more importantly for me and perhaps selfishly I will miss him. I will miss him for being the erudite face of ICT in the pictures we use on our pinboards and website to personify the essential relationship between the student and the teacher in our ICT lessons but also as a friend. The pictures show just what I mean.

He has been a great ally to me in my first few years at Habs; always able to simplify the many challenges, for me, of moving to a school where it appeared that everyone had been here for ever and knew everything and spoke in a fantastic language of acronyms flowered with wise quotations.

Let me share with you a picture. Imagine one of our weekly ICT teaching staff meetings in B13. All are animated trying to drive our own opinions home on a point of how to teach a particular topic. Mr Jones sits back reflective watching and waiting for a lull or until one or all of us runs out of steam. He is then able to bring the wealth of his great experience and simplify and clarify the issues calmly so we can move to the next point. No doubt he is incredibly bright individual who loves his teaching, finding it easy to convey his formidable subject knowledge with a calm and steady approach which the boys have clearly enjoyed but he is also highly regarded amongst colleagues and students alike for his involvement in Cricket and Hockey.

Mr Jones has contributed much to the life of the school from running clubs in ICT to sports teams. In the last few years he has worked to introduce computational thinking through the use of Lego and more recently game making as well as the British Olympiad although he may be more renown for the administration behind our success with ECDL for boys and staff where we have achieved 100% of our staff with at least 3 ECDL module passes.

I am sure everyone will join me in wishing him health and happiness in his retirement. I hope he will not be a stranger.


Chris Trinder (by John Wigley)

Everyone who met Chris Trinder found that he loved Economics. He was an enthusiast who shared his enthusiasm. He bubbled over with information about Economics, theories about Economics, and thinking about Economics. He wanted all his pupils to reach his own extraordinarily high academic standard in Economics.

He had a Double First Class Degree in Economics from St. John's College, Cambridge. During the 1970's lectured and researched at the Universities of Essex and York, at University College London, and at the London School of Economics. In the 1980's he was at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, in charge of labour market and public expenditure research. For much of the 1990's he was Chief Economist at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting, and Director of Employment in the Carnegie Inquiry into the Third Age.

His ability and expertise were much in demand. He was a member of the Council and National Executive of the National Children's Bureau, chair of the Unemployment Unit, specialist advisor to government committees including the Social Security Committee, consultant to the International Labour Office, the European Commission, Shelter, the Child Poverty Action Group, the Low Pay Unit, and the Transport and General Workers' Union, besides being a tutor at Ruskin College, Oxford.

Naturally, he was a distinguished member of many academic institutions and societies, contributed prolifically to academic journals, and wrote numerous articles and books, including "Parents and Children- Incomes in Two Generations" (Heinemann) and "Collected Works: Public Sector Pay" (Public Finance Foundation).

In 2000 he changed course. He did a PGCE at the Institute of Education, London, taught at Bacon's City Technology College, and at Stonyhurst College, before joining HABS in September 2003. At HABS he was in charge of Cambridge enhancement classes. One year 6 of his pupils gained places to study Economics at Cambridge, making a total of 12 former HABS pupils studying Economics there in the 3 undergraduate years. What is more, 4 of the 6 were awarded first class honours degrees. To the best of my knowledge the 12 former pupils and 4 Firsts set a record for any U.K. school. He was in charge of successful Young Enterprise teams and Ogden Trust business competitions, and regularly inspired them to reach the national finals. In addition, he built up school table tennis from scratch.

Chris was fully committed to the school. He willingly gave time and energy to his work as Sixth Form Tutor, advising, guiding and reference-writing, and surprised his tutees by his knowledge of Dizzee Rascal's music. He made an outstanding intellectual contribution to the Department of Economics and Politics, and impressed his colleagues with his knowledge of fine wines. As a teacher he specialised not in filling his pupils with facts but by challenging them to think. He also allowed them to relax: few will forget his end-of-term sessions of tiddlywinks. He became a legend.

Chris Trinder was an exceptional member of the band of brilliant academics with wide experience who have served HABS as gifted teachers. The school will miss him. On behalf of all who knew him, I wish him a long and happy retirement.


Terry Kennard

The Prep School bid a fond farewell to Terry Kennard whose dedication and commitment to her post spanning two decades has been greatly appreciated by parents, pupils and staff; we wish her every happiness in her retirement.


Simon Boyes (by Peter Hamilton)

Simon unfailingly embodied those very important qualities of helpfulness, gentleness and kindness. He has been a supreme example of a colleague who is approachable, always helpful and unflustered in a crisis. His patience and generosity with his time, his ability to look ahead, his down-to-earth pragmatic approach to the immediate issues, his ability to render the complexities of ICT simple, his gentle kindness, all have made him such an ideal colleague.

Jon Corrall reports that by nature Simon is a problem solver, and possesses a mind which is very quick to see a way round a problem. Keith Dawson always said of Simon that he had the ability to see around corners. So often, Simon would come up with a workable solution which has provided invaluable breathing-space whilst we slower thinkers had time to think through the problem.

This ability has been of great value in his main areas of expertise; the timetable and the curriculum, where so often he found the imaginative solution to what appeared to be an impossible problem. He always tried to accommodate people's wishes and to make things possible. The helpfulness he provided to staff is offered in equal measure to pupils. You only needed to witness the long queue of boys outside his office at option time to see how caring he was in wanting to enable boys to study the subjects of their choice.

We shall all remember him in different ways: the boys will remember the lessons from a first-rate Chemist; Common Room will have memories of, I hope, a model of efficiency and kindness and warmth, an indefatigable hard worker, a man who has always been able to give of his time, who has worked easily with teaching staff and support staff.

I shall remember him for his integrity, trustworthiness, diplomacy, discretion, precision, intimate knowledge of routines and people.

We lose not just a colleague but a great friend of the school, and not least a personal friend to many of us. He will always be a most welcome visitor to Elstree. I am sure you will all join me in wishing him and Elizabeth a long, active and happy retirement.


David Reid (by John Wigley)

In July 2010 David Reid retired after over twenty years service in the Department of Economics and Politics. It has always been hard to find good Economics teachers but particularly so in the late 1980's, when almost all economists went into the City.

David visited Habs to decide whether to apply. I showed him the Department, the Library and the Staff Room, where he explained the role of the Orange Order. When I dropped him off in Watford, he kept his intentions to himself but he did apply.

A day before the interviews the Headmaster at the time told a guest, "We're about to see a man with two first class degrees." I had already made up my mind and neglected the need for political correctness by remarking incautiously, "I'm sure we'll appoint him."

We did. We never regretted the decision. An Ulsterman born and bred, David had spent most of his school days at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, read Classics at Trinity College, Dublin, and then joined the Northern Ireland Treasury. He later left, became a local councillor and studied Economics and Politics at Queen's University, Belfast, before moving to Oxford, where he undertook research at St. John's College, supervised by the formidable Professor Finer of All Souls.

David brought this academic excellence and wide experience to Habs. He concentrated on teaching Economics, specialising in Applied Economics and the Labour Market, and prepared pupils for PPE at Oxford and SPS at Cambridge, besides teaching General Studies and, on occasion, Latin. As a member of the Careers Team he was responsible for Economics and related subjects and as a Form Tutor he advised, guided and supervised succeeding groups of Sixth Formers.

In addition to his academic and pastoral work, David took Wednesday afternoon golf for many years. Moreover, as the school's European Fellow he organised the highly successful Euro-days and Boulogne Trips and was master in charge of the European Youth Parliament team, which on several occasions he coached to the UK finalp; one memorable year he took the team to represent the UK in Paris, after cautiously assessing and dismissing the risks posed by rioting and striking Frenchmen.

In everything that he did, David was a master of detail, hard working and thorough, totally professional and so widely respected. As a teacher he set very high standards and coaxed pupils up to them. As a Form Tutor he was firm and patient and solved problems by tact and understanding. As a colleague he was his own man and also utterly reliable. It was entirely fitting that he was Head of Department between my departure and Mrs. Shah's appointment.

Generations of pupils benefited from David's work. They knew his dry humour but not that, in private, he enjoyed good food and wine and relished spending his holidays absorbed in the culture and language of Italy. They remember him for his intellect, his knowledge and his teaching. Many of them recount that they used his lesson notes throughout their study of Economics at university. On their behalf, of his colleagues, and of the school to which he gave so much, I wish him a very happy retirement.


Bob Welsh (by Al Metcalfe)

An Appreciation of Robert James Welsh

11th September 1940

"These cruel indiscriminate bombings of London are, of course, a large part of Hitler's invasion plans. He hopes by killing large numbers of civilians, women and children that he will terrorise and cower the people of this mighty, imperial city. Little does he know the spirit of the British nation or the tough fibre of the Londoners".

Five years later, on 15th April 1945, following the ravages of the Second World War, a glimmer of hope returned to 11 Marlborough Road, Islington with the birth in the front room of Robert James Welsh.

Bob's formative years were spent in Elstree. The area was surrounded by film studios and he soon smelt the grease paint and headed for the bright lights, when he left Furzehill School at 14 to take up his first job at the local garden centre.

Given the demanding job of planting one marrow seed in one hole, covering it with compost and repeating several hundred times, the thrusting Welsh soon became impatient, planting 3 or 4 seeds in the same hole. The ensuing rain and mild weather gave rise to perfect growing conditions much to Bob's chagrin. And on the fourth day with marrow plants sprouting up everywhere, our hero was dismissed from his post.

Bob spent the next 5 years working for Barnet Council tending the parks by the Old Courthouse (in front of the petrol station which is on the right as you drive into Barnet).

Following this Bob strode purposefully into his next position at Wall Hall Girls' School, in Aldenham, now the site of a large housing development. He became know for his work ethic and attention to detail.

Five years were spent at Wall Hall followed by another five at Queens College, Bushey. Being concerned with his career development, Bob had clearly decided that five years would be spent at these establishments before moving on to better things. The next five years were spent at Bushey Hill School, the first school to have a redgra playing surface in the country. You've got to admire the attention to detail ...

Bob's most demanding position was as Head Caretaker at yet another girls' school, Northfields by Watford Junction Station. Mr Welsh was the only male on the books and he was soon granted 'god-like status' amongst the ladies. In a single week, he laid 250 'flagstones' covering 150 square metres, truly a phenomenal feat. But it soon dawned on Bob that his employers may have been taking him for granted when he was asked to dig an Olympic sized swimming pool with a trowel. However, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune were waiting in the wings, soon to play their hand..

In 1980, Bob first applied to Haberdashers' answering an advertisement for the position of Groundsman and Cricket Coach. But his application was rejected on the grounds that he was overqualified for the cricket coaching. A year later, Bob answered the call for a Groundsman only and he was immediately snapped up and put on the payroll.

Bob's big break arrived in 1985 when David Davies, Director of Sport, invited him in from the cold to work as the Sports Hall Supervisor. And it was here that Bob really made his mark with the boys and staff of the school.

The job title has changed over the years from Supervisor, to Sports Assistance to finally Sports Hall Manager but the Sports Hall has always been simply Bob's place.

Under Mike Davies, Bob used to basically work 70 hours a week, his daily work of organising and maintaining the equipment, all of the lettings in the evenings and driving minibuses at weekends.

He helped, and continues to help at athletic events, sometimes as far away as Gateshead or Manchester and he has recorded a number of world records on his trusty stopwatch.

"Guns up, Bob", I cry as the starter prepares to fire and Bob prepares to take another lick of his ice cream. "100 metres' time for lane 4, please," the recorder asks; "9.45 seconds," Bob replies.

Bob has seen the passing through of 5 Directors of Sport. At one stage 5 years ago, the Sports Hall was like a drinks station at the London Marathon with 3 Directors coming and going in 2 years. Thankfully the last few years have passed relatively peacefully with Ryan at the helm.

Bob used to go regularly to the Junior Rugby tour to Wales kindly hosted by Clive Rees and one of the many highlights each year was to walk around the sealife centre in St Davids and check as to whether the owners had expanded on their collection of 1 cuttlefish, 2 common crabs and an eel.

When Bob was working at Haberdashers', he became one of the most dependable and reliable of colleagues. At late notice he would answer the call of many a distressed teacher. He would drive vans on social outings, to Brighton for Holmesy for the London-Brighton bike ride and up to Northumberland for the CCF, all at the drop of a hat. He is one of the kindest of men.

He is the longest serving Presidents of Hertfordshire Badminton. Bob has himself played badminton for Hertfordshire and coached a full England International in Andrew Salvage.

I think of the thousands of boys who will remember you Bob, woe betide any of them who wore shoes that marked the Sports Hall floor. You were always harsh but fair and the boys loved you for it.


John Wigley (by the Economists)

After studying at Oxford and Sheffield, John Wigley began to teach at Haberdashers’ in September 1973. John was one of Dr. Taylor’s last appointments and accepted his offer of a job at HABS, in preference to positions at other schools. John was appointed to teach Economics and Politics. He served for the ensuing 35 years. In 1973 the department had some 36 Economists and 12 Politicians in each Sixth Form year, but after he became Head of Department in 1987 numbers more than doubled, making Economics the second most popular Advanced Level subject in the school. Soon the department provided more Oxbridge entrants than any other at Haberdashers’, being recognised as one of the strongest in the country.

John regularly taught a History class and from 1986 to 2001 was a distinguished Housemaster of Russells. Between 1993 and 1995 he completed a M.Ed. at Clare College, Cambridge, writing a thesis on the appraisal of head teachers! He was an Independent Schools Inspector, an OCR examiner, and contributed review articles to economics and politics journals. John made an extraordinary contribution to the wider life of the school. Over the years he acted as Box Office Manager, looked after Jain Assemblies, was master-in-charge of Debating, and supported the Economics and Politics Societies. He introduced Model United Nations to HABS, and for almost twenty years he came into school virtually every Autumn Saturday to provide hospitality for visiting Rugby teachers and referees.

He accompanied Graeme Hunter on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions to Snowdonia, was twice Tim Watson’s lieutenant on the walk from Siena to Rome, assisted the Classics Department on trips to Italy and Hadrian’s Wall, and went on every History expedition to the First War battlefields. Whilst in Budapest he impressed the boys by refusing to panic as street rioting erupted outside a restaurant where they were dining. In the 1970’s he helped with Cross Country running and ran himself. Among his many well-known pupils from that time is Damon Hill, the former world motor racing champion. He was the last serving member of the HABS staff to have lived in Aldenham House when the Boarding Department was located there. Three years ago he joined the CCF, probably the oldest person ever to receive a CCF commission.

John’s knowledge of the school is unrivalled, and his friendship with Old Boys extensive. He represented the Common Room at the Old Haberdashers’ Association and is now a co-opted member of its Executive Committee. His fine history of HABS, “Serve and Obey”, complements his two earlier books, “The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Sunday” and “The Enterprise Economy”. John established an excellent rapport with his pupils and colleagues not only by his outstanding intellectual powers, superb subject knowledge, first-rate organisational abilities, hard work and meticulous attention to detail but also by his good humour, tact, patience, accessibility, and openness to discussion. John’s style of speaking – he has always been much in demand as an after-dinner orator – is calm, measured and clear, highly persuasive and punctuated by appropriate witticisms. He exhibits those characteristics identified and often admired by foreigners as quintessentially English – tolerance, fairness, pragmatism, suspicion of unproven theory, and a disposition to ask awkward questions.

John has his particular way of doing things. He was slow to embrace new technology in his home life and has resisted pressures to acquire a personal computer, mobile phone or DVD player. For years he drove a Morris Minor and bashed out his brilliant model answers and revision notes on an old type-writer. To those of us from an older generation he recalls those slightly eccentric but very effective teachers who were regarded as ‘characters’ among school staff. John is difficult to replace, but perhaps we should not want to replace such a unique personality. Earlier this year fifty of John’s colleagues and friends honoured him by inviting him to a dinner in the Tower of London. We wish John a long and happy retirement and success in his new career as a Magistrate, to which he seems perfectly suited.

The Economists


Jon Corrall (by Peter Hamilton)

Jon Corrall leaves HABS as full of energy and enthusiasm as he was on his first day, after 31 years of outstanding service. He joined us from Merchant Taylors’, Northwood as an Assistant Master in the Modern Languages Department on the 1st September 1978. It proved to be a wise decision for all! He was appointed to Head of German in September 1982, Head of Modern Foreign Languages in September 1991 and Senior Master in September 1998. A true scholar and a razor sharp intellect, Jon is cultured and gifted linguist; a first-rate administrator always full of good ideas; a formidable man-manager and a compassionate pastoral leader; and above all, an outstanding teacher - in short, the complete schoolmaster.

Jon has devoted countless hours to exchanges and to trips abroad. He has coached teams in Cricket and Rugby; his devotion to Games and to the extra-curricular life of the school in general is legendary. We shall all remember him in different ways: the Common Room will have memories of what I hope is a model of efficiency and kindness and warmth, a man who has always been able to give of his time, has stuck to his guns, has worked easily with teaching and support staff, has praised and admonished with scrupulous fairness, and who has always put the needs of boys and colleagues first – this is not the legacy of an ordinary Deputy Head. Jon has gone consistently the extra mile for the school, for the boys, and for his colleagues.

For the three Headmasters he has served, a few words spring to my mind: absolute loyalty, integrity, trustworthiness, diplomacy, discretion, precision, empathy, pride in a job well done, intimate knowledge of routines, people and parents, and most importantly the ability to keep me on the straight and narrow and fully aware of what needs to be done. The boys will remember the lessons from a first-rate linguist; they will remember a firm but fair disciplinarian, a galvaniser of the Prefect Body and a staunch supporter of the House system; they will remember trips accompanied by a man with a genuine interest in wider education, be it the CCF, MUN in The Hague, or countless expeditions to France or Germany.

We lose not just a colleague and a great friend of the school, but a personal friend to many of us; and yet “lose” is the wrong word because he will be a frequent and a most welcome visitor to Elstree. Fun to be with, immensely supportive and immensely popular, he will be sorely missed. I am sure you will all join me in wishing him a long, active and happy retirement.


Michael Lemprière (by Tim Norton)

The first time I ever saw Michael Lemprière was in 1979 when he, quite literally, swung into view when appearing in a truly hilarious staff production, that wonderful Feydeau play, “A Flea in Her Ear”. Act Two is set in the sort of hotel that only exists in French farce: the scenery for this production not only included a ludicrous number of doors, but also a spectacular revolving bed. The function of this bed was to whisk any amorous couples instantly out of sight should there be an unwonted knock at the door from either party’s meddling spouse. At the press of a button on the headboard, the whole spectacular structure whirled 180 degrees whisking lovers into a concealed upstage room, while revealing a duplicate bed occupied by a rather surprised-looking, decrepit, stick-insect of a man simply known as Baptiste. Limply shaking with palsy, and moaning feebly like an old whippet in a damp blanket, the role might have been tailor made for Mike.

I remember at the time wondering, “How long until that ancient staff member retires?” Just a gauche Year 8 boy at the time, I had failed to recognise, beneath the costume and characterisation, the young teacher who was just finishing his first term at Haberdashers’. As it turned out, of course, the poor old boy managed to limp on - rather nimbly – for another 30 years. The happy tradition of the biennial staff play at Haberdashers’ sadly came to an end with a last revival of “The Real Inspector Hound” eight years ago. Now, equally sadly, we must accept the end of another great era, as Michael Lemprière bids us farewell to begin what we hope will be a long and very happy retirement.

The master of the withering look; waspish yet always stylish - habitually dressed from head to toe by Paul Smith or Nicole Fahri – he inspired a lasting passion and excitement for his subject in all the boys he taught. His knowledge of the contemporary novel in particular; of both classical and modern poetry, of music, art and theatre, is extraordinary. This wealth of cultural sensibility combined with – that rarest of gifts – the power to genuinely listen and to care made him a remarkable schoolmaster and very much loved by his students. His 6th Form classes were a great joy, full of laughter, and always ending with a sense that everyone had come up with a truly revolutionary interpretation of whatever text was being discussed; such was Michael’s skill in empowering his students and giving them the confidence to think for themselves, and to not simply spoon-feed them the answers.

A great supporter of the individual rather than the crowd, ‘Lempy’ or ‘Lumps’ as he was to the boys, also took pains to celebrate and encourage the musical, artistic or dramatic talents of his tutees so that academic results were not seen as the beginning or end of a boys’ worth, nor the only measure of their success. His own contributions to the extra-curricular life of the school encouraged boys to feel that they had an important role to play in its community outside the classroom. Editor of Skylark for almost 10 years before handing over the baton to Perry Keenlyside, Mike was an extremely efficient and inspiring leader of what was then a very small band of sub editors from the 6th Form. It was also Lemps who devised an evening of poetry and theatre in 1981 with members of the 3rd and 4th Year called “Your Attention Please”, thus paving the way for the first ever Middle School Play, “Albert’s Bridge”, which he directed with Nigel Turner the following year. Mike went on to direct a further three Middle School plays - the gloriously sticky incident when Tony Robertson accidentally slipped and dropped a vast jelly on the first night of “The Servant of Two Masters”, splattering it across the Headmaster’s guests, is now the stuff of legend, while his hugely successful production of “Our Day Out”, which ended with half a dozen live rabbits, hamsters, dogs and gerbils, will never be forgotten!

It is 20 years since Mike became Head of English at Haberdashers’. In that time he oversaw the radical changes to the A-level syllabus with a quiet and calming authority, which helped to soften the blow of what the government had potentially destroyed of 6th Form education, and established the department as one of the strongest in the country: it is particularly gratifying that this summer’s English results, at all levels, were the best ever for the school. His wry smiles, constant good humour and endless patience will be difficult to replace, and we thank him for his constant support, wise counsel, and encouragement over so many years.

As he and Judith glide effortlessly between their residences in London and Suffolk, I hope he will find time occasionally to look up from his book, take off the gardening gloves or stop kneading the dough for his morning loaf, and remember what a huge inspiration he has been and how very much we shall all miss him.


Michael J Lexton (by Simon Boyes)

Michael Lexton joined Haberdashers in 1977. He was born in Cardiff, South Wales, and at age 11 he went to St Illtyd’s College, Cardiff where he took O-levels and then A-levels in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. In 1966 he entered University College Swansea reading Chemistry, graduating in 1969. He went on to take a PhD at the same institution. His thesis was based on “The Reactions of Hydrogen Atoms with Simple Alkenes”, a subtle and complex aspect of gas kinetics and yet an area of chemistry that has real commercial value, as it is a reaction which is at the heart of the process that turns vegetable oil into margarine. And then, in one of those turning points that we all have in our lives, Mike forsook the ivory tower of academic research and decided to go into teaching. He left Wales for the first time and ventured into the heart of the English countryside to take his PGCE at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. His first teaching post was a plum job at Trinity School Croydon, where he quickly made his mark both in the classroom and on the sports field. Four years later and now an experienced school master, he was seduced by the greenery and open spaces of Elstree into joining the Chemistry department, headed by a certain John Carleton.

In a department that was already more than pulling its weight, Mike added scholarship, erudition and accomplishment. The Chemistry office in those days was an exciting place; it buzzed with discussion about azeotropes, allotropes and isotopes. Nick Clark-Lowes (spawned some said in the cellars of Balliol College Oxford) frequently emerged from the fumes and smoke obscuring his lab with his hair awry, his labcoat stained and burned, and with a fierce gleam in his eyes, whilst Doug Yeabsley managed to teach the boys all they needed for O-level Chemistry, while spending most of his lessons discussing the Lions tours or the Ashes campaigns. He had a passion for his subject second only to cricket, and Rugby, and Russells House, and his growing family, and his pupils, and his legendary barbecues – all right seventh only to those! In this select company, whatever the conversation, be it Chemistry, sport or current affairs, Mike was completely at home.

In 1982, when John Carleton became Second Master, Mike was appointed Head of Chemistry. Like all good Heads of Department, his leadership is based on his outstanding ability as a classroom teacher. His subject knowledge is vast; if you need an answer to a question about Chemistry, it is always much quicker to find Mike than it is to look one up in a book or on Wikipedia (and, unlike Wikipedia, Mike does not get his facts wrong). As with any great teacher, it is not enough to have command of your subject, but you also have to be able to set this out before others in a way that is comprehensible and digestible. The clarity with which Mike explains a point, and the subtlety of his argument, is something all of us can recognise, and is something from which the pupils here have benefited for over thirty years.

The success of the Chemistry Department, in competitions such as the Chemistry Olympiad, is in no small part due to Mike’s teaching of the enhancement classes, in which he teases out of the boys that depth of understanding to which only the best can aspire. When Roger Wakely retired as Head of Science in 1990, Mike was the obvious successor. It is all too easy to take for granted the efficiency and effectiveness with which the Chemistry Department, and Science as a whole, runs. Schemes of work and departmental plans are always in place for the start of the academic year, amended and adjusted by Mike after discussions and consultation with the department. The departmental handbooks in all the science departments contain everything that a newly-arrived teacher needs to know (and that a well-established colleague needs to be able to remember).

In school, Mike has played a major role in the running of the Common Room. He has been Common Room Treasurer, Chair of the Common Room Finance Committee and was Common Room Chairman from 2005 to 2007. On the extra-curricular front Mike is one of the longest serving members of the School Rugby club, and has seen countless generations of U16 boys pass through the school, partnering first Ian Rice and, of late, Chris Bass. The boys have a huge respect for Mike both as a tough but caring coach, and as a fine and scrupulous referee. When he first joined the school, he was also involved in school chess (and he continues to take great interest in the club’s progress) though his own playing, which is of a very high standard, is now mainly out of school. The formidable mind which powers his chess playing is also evident in Mike’s other roles in school. The ability to see complex moves several steps ahead is a real asset when Mike is constructing the science department timetable, and it also is apparent through Mike’s prowess with matters IT. He was an early adopter of IT in school when the BBC Microcomputer brought desktop computing into education; word-processed pupil worksheets and highly structured spreadsheets for data analysis were soon indispensable additions to the array of tools used by Mike to enhance the quality of teaching and the effectiveness of the department.

Mike’s attention to detail (and ruthless interrogation of so-called “experts”) was also put to good use when we were designing the new home for Science in the Aske Building. Every detail, specification and design feature was scrutinised, tested and checked before being accepted, and the result is a fine suite of laboratories that are a pleasure in which to work. Mike also dealt with the incredibly complex logistics of moving out of the old science block and into the temporary three-storey Lego building in which we taught for two years, while the old science block was demolished and the Aske building rose in its place.

Mike has also been influential in a number of roles outside school. For seven years, he was a member of the Association for Science Education Safety Committee, advising school teachers up and down the land about how to ensure that they minimise any risks to pupils during science lessons. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and he has been an examiner for Edexcel Chemistry for 28 years; he has now risen to the upper echelons of the organisation, becoming Principal Examiner for Advanced Level Chemistry.

Despite having a reputation amongst the boys as a hard task master, Mike has a genuine concern for all the boys in his care, and has a wry sense of humour. This is just as well when one of his colleagues (who shall remain nameless, and whom I shall simply call “Mr. L”) managed to evacuate the entire Aske building shortly after its grand opening, by carrying out the “screaming jelly baby” experiment in the open lab, setting off all the smoke alarms. And, if you needed proof that Mike is also willing to laugh at himself, you need only to see the pictures of him dressed up as Ann Robinson, complete with bright orange wig, when he compered the Chemistry Weakest Link competition for Science Week a couple of years back.

If teachers tend to take on the attributes of their subject, what properties would the element Lextonium exhibit? I suggest:

• It always looks polished and smooth, though recent samples may have a touch of grey.

• It is thought to be very hard, although its internal temperature is considerably warmer than many suspect.

• It is known to be anything but dense!

• It is a powerful reducing agent, transforming complex logistical problems into simple solutions

• It is highly volatile, especially in the presence of un-tucked shirts, reducing wayward Year 10 students who have forgotten their homework to jelly.

• It is, however, rendered passive by classical music.

Classification of this new element is problematic and opinion is divided as to whether it is metallic or organic or both. Students, however, know it as “the diamond geezer”.

In his time at the school, Mike has seen a tremendous change in the physical environment, with wonderful new buildings and a fine range of new facilities. (Nevertheless, the original school and staff changing rooms still hark back to the 1960s, and so the proposed new suite of changing rooms planned for next year will be a big improvement.) The boys are not really that different from those he first encountered thirty years ago – bright, articulate, exciting and interesting to teach, and aspiring to better things through their own efforts – although perhaps they are not quite as polite and socially sophisticated as they once were.

Retirement will mean more time for family, for chess and for keeping fit. Mike will continue his examining and also hopes to regain his interest in cooking. We will miss his scholarship, his efficiency and his companionship. We wish him a very long and happy retirement, and hope he will come back and visit whenever he can.


Mike Morrish (by Michael Day)

When I first met Mike Morrish he was dressed from head to toe in bright red nylon and I was dressed in rubberised fluorescent orange. It was 1976, and on starting salaries of £1916.18 per year, neither of us could afford a car, so we both came to school on motorbikes.

But there the similarity ends. Mike had arrived at Haberdashers' a year ahead of me, and already his organisation was legendary. Exercise books were stacked for rnarking in regimented piles. Pupils' work was meticulously corrected in a careful steady, precise hand. every letter neatly formed by the product of a remarkable symbiosis: the human typewriter. Years later, nothing's changed of course, except Mike no longer wears bright red nylon to school.

Mike is a remarkable person, a professional of the highest order, an exceptional teacher, an outstanding manager of people, and an incurable show off. Born in Mill Hill, his association with Haberdashers' started early. Whilst at St Georges Junior School he was already throwing taunts at the ‘cabbage bashers’ (rhymes with Haberdashers) of toffee- nosed Habs Prep down the road. Later, as a boy at Orange Hill Grammar School, he raced us in the Goater Cup, pounding the same punishing course followed by pupils to this very day.

Mike’s passion for Geography was also nurtured early. Camping expeditions with the Scouts and a three week mountaineering trip in the Austrian Alps, quite an adventure then, fired an early passion for travel. Having taken his geography degree at Exeter, Mike’s first job was in the hardnosed world of marketing. He spent three years as a brand manager for those great British institutions – Omo, Surf and Persil. But for Mike, those three years with Lever Brothers seemed to lack any real sense of purpose and he decided to follow a career is teaching.

At this point, serendipity lent a hand. Mike's passion for amateur dramatics had allowed him to meet someone who was to become one of the most influential people in his life His name was Rex Walford.

Rex was also a local man, born in Edgware, an enthusiastic and highly influential geographer in his own right and a talented drama producer. In 1972, Rex was looking for young talent for his latest squeeze, and he selected Mike.

Rex and Mike hit it off from the start. Rex, recognising that all teaching involves a degree of acting, encouraged Mike in his planned career move. Mike left Lever Brothers, and went to Leicester University to train. He never looked back.

Mike's first teaching job was at Guthlaxton College, known locally as ‘Gutho'. Described by Mike as 'a pressure cooker seething with adolescent hormones'. Gutho was a large comprehensive on the edge of Leicester. But this was something of a 'golden age- for Geography. The subject was developing rapidly in Universities throughout Europe and the States, and at Haberdashers' a young Head of Department called John Rolfe was busily engaging his team on the writing of one of the most influential school textbooks of the late twentieth century -  the Oxford Geography Proiect. Rex Walford was also busy developing advanced teaching methods using games and simulations to teach newly emerging principles. Careers were developng rapidly, threads inevitably inter-twined, and when two member's of the Haberdashers’ writing team left for promotion elsewhere. John Rolfe turned to Rex to help him find someone with sufficient talent and ability to hold the torch. With his exceptional qualities, the obvious candidate was Mike Morrish.

Mike was appointed to Haberdashers' in 1975, and stayed with us until 1983. An energetic and highly organised teacher, he gave far more to us than just Geography. Soon he was leading student exchange trips to Montclair- Kimberley Academy in the United States, as well as giving full-on participation in cross¬country and squash. With his love of theatre, he not only staged managed every school play, but was also involved in a succession of staff plays, directing two of them himself. Indulging his passion for black music as part of our general studies programme, he introduced hundreds of boys to the sound of Motown Blues and American Soul. Not that his professional career was being neglected. His multiple talents and organisational skills quickly saw him appointed to the role of Moderator for one of the most influential O Levels of the day - the Schools Council Geography Project.

Mike also has an extraordinary writing talent. He is a wordsmith, capable of crafting that style of concise, fluent and accessible text that is perfect for young people. In 1980, he was seconded to the prestigious Geography 16-19 project to help write materials for their innovative new A Level. Oxford University Press were impressed enough by what they saw to invite Mike to write a new textbook to resource schools' growing interest in global development. The result was another milestone for Mike: "Development in the the Third World", published in 1983.

It was clear nothing would keep Mike caged at Haberdashers' for long. Rex was now hugely influential in the Geographical Association, and he desperately needed Mike's commercial acumen and educational talent to drive the subject forward as their first Publicity Officer. Working together they set up the legendary WorldWise Quiz for schools, a powerful promotional tool that was to lead directly to the first International Geographical Olympiad in 1993.

Mike's career was now at lift off. He wanted a department of his own to run. In 1983 he left Haberdashers and moved to Alleyn's, Dulwich. Co-educational, the school was very different to Haberdashers. Mike loved its open and cooperative character and felt there were lots he could do to develop his new department.

Mike's textbook became a hugely successful publication, selling tens of thousands of copies. Part of the proceeds unashamedly went to fuel Mike's secret passion for fast cars. Mike is no automotive engineer, he wouldn't know a hydraulic tappet from a grease nipple, but his encyclopaedic knowledge of Formula One and his expert eye for a set of well turned alloys meant that it wasn't long before a chunky bright red Toyota MR2 gleamed in the school car park. At a time when most teachers drove frayed saloons, eyebrows were suitably raised. It was also in this car that I was treated to a terrifying hairpin descent of Clifton Gorge ... but that's another story.

But Mike was also keen to promote his subject, and following a three-year stint as Publicity Officer at the Geographical Association, he became the first editor of GA News. Appointments as Junior Vice President, then Senior Vice President, quickly followed, culminating in his election to the post of GA President for the year 1995 - 1996. This was a crowning achievement for Mike, recognising him internationally as an outstanding professional teacher, innovator and organiser. 1995 was also the year that Mike came back to HABS.

With the retirement of John Rolfe, Mike was the obvious choice of successor. But the timing was not ideal. Holding down the office of President of the GA at a time of peak membership, and at a time when school Geography was under threat from changing government policy, Mike now found himself taking on the management of a major academic department in a leading independent school. It was hardly going to be easy. It speaks volumes for Mike's sheer professionalism that, despite this extraordinary workload and a commitment that would have felled any lesser man, he achieved all that was asked of him without a murmur.

In the following summer of 1996, Mike married Dawn. Dawn had two delightful and talented children, Nina and Jay, by a previous marriage, and despite his previously meteoric professional career, Mike now did an extraordinary thing. Showing a completely different side to his character, he stepped back from the GA to focus entirely on his family and his department, a decision from which Haberdashers' has benefited hugely.

Mike subsequently served the school for another twelve years as Head of Geography. During this time his quiet personal and professional commitment has been highly valued by his immediate colleagues. He has run the department with an extraordinarily kind and gentle touch, carefully steering it through difficult times with all the wisdom of his past experience. Always willing to listen, intensely loyal, and entirely democratic, Mike will be greatly missed.

Retirement, however, is a word Mike refuses to use. Through his many contacts in the Geographical Association he intends to remain professionally very active, both on committees and with important professional bodies such as the Field Studies Council and the prestigious Royal Geographical Society, as well as developing his professional writing career. Mike will also continue to be a great traveller and photographer. His travels to China (four times), Borneo, Pakistan, Japan, Russia, Morocco, Egypt, the Gambia, as well as the USA and Europe, have already yielded a collection of over 15,000 photographs, some of such startling quality and perception they could easily grace the pages of the National Geographic.

So as we say farewell to Mike, we do so in the knowledge that Haberdashers' is losing a huge and diverse talent, a great teacher, and an outstanding professional. Although he will continue to give his energy and expertise to Geography and education for many years, his warm personality and infectious humour will be missed by those of us who have been privileged to count him as both colleague and friend.


Peter Briercliffe

In the Economics department, Peter Briercliffe has announced his retirement after a highly successful five year spell at Haberdashers’. A popular figure amongst his colleagues and pupils, Peter has delivered his lessons with dry, Northern humour and outstanding academic knowledge. His personality and professionalism will be missed by his fellow Economists and the Common Room in general.


Malcolm Gilbertson

Malcolm retired as School Bursar this term after more than a decade of outstanding service to the School. As well as his absolute command of the multi-faceted bursarial role, he has introduced many boys and colleagues to the intense beauty of the mountains of England and Wales through his passion for outdoor pursuits.


Trevor Hyde

Trevor joined the Maths department in 1989 having already gained 23 years of teaching experience in schools in Ealing. Outside of the department, Trevor’s main passion is Water Polo and he was the driving force behind the sports popularity and out school teams’ successes. Trevor was also the Team Manager of the English Schools water polo team from 1990 to 2002.

He has done a wonderful job organizing the Staff Charity Concert on a biennial basis.


Delia Meehan (by C Muhly)

Delia has taught at Habs for 24 years. Throughout this time she has been a dedicated and inspirational oboe teacher who has produced many fine players. For the last 20 years Delia has also taught class music to boys in the Prep School. She has directed recorder ensembles, conducted choirs but most notably under her conductorship the Prep School Orchestra has blossomed into one of over 70 players.

Delia will be fondly remembered by all as an outstanding teacher who has always been keen to share her love of music.

One of the keys to success when organising concerts is adequate preparation. Time is needed to carry out all the practical things like booking the hall and music, but time is also needed to "get inside the concert" - to imagine how it will present itself to the audience in, perhaps, 10 month’s time. It needs to be talked through.

Delia has always been good at this aspect of her job and she has always kept the department up-to-speed about her next concert, and its programming, on a regular basis. So when she announced that she was going to retire, we knew we hadn't heard the last of it. She's reminded us, daily, not only that she was retiring, but also how many days it was to go! "I can't believe it, I've only got another five days!"

Delia came to HABS as an oboe teacher and she continued to teach this instrument throughout her time here. She is an outstanding teacher. She understands her pupils; she has an intuitive instinct as to when to move them on, when to curb their over confidence, when to listen and, importantly, when not to contact parents. And this has produced some wonderful players: just from my time Matthew Betts, Marcus Cherry, Nicholas Saunders, James Arthur, Tim Hall and, of course our former Chaplain, The Revd. David Lindsay.

Her work as an Associated Board examiner has been invaluable here. She is a keen advocate of nurturing the complete musician, and all the disciplines to be found in exams feature in every lesson. Rightly, all aspects are an integral part of learning to be an oboist and musician in equal measure.

On the group music-making front, in 1986, alongside the formation of recorder groups, Delia began the Prep Orchestra. Prep concerts were originally held in the Seldon Hall, but in 1989 they moved to the Bourne Hall. At her final Prep concert the orchestra numbered 80 players. That orchestra has surely grown both numerically and in quality over 21 years and has made an immense contribution to the success of orchestras and wind bands in the main school. Indeed the Prep musicians are the cornerstones of the main school's music making.

Delia's love of teaching was recognised in 1987 by inviting her to teach class music within the Prep School. In that role, she brought that same care and level of attention to her 220 students as she did to her 20 or so oboe pupils.

Delia knows her students. She carries their developing personalities in her head; she thinks about them as individuals. She understands their humour, she assesses their personalities with great speed (and I include adults here too) and this is why she has had such conspicuous success in matching boys to orchestral instruments for tuition in Year 5. And in the case of double bass students she even knows the size of the family car.

It would be easy however, in a school such as HABS, to cream off the very best musicians and work with them alone. But Delia's desire to help those deemed to be incapable of singing in tune, resulted in her completing an MA on this topic. Indeed her mantra was often heard "never write anyone off - they all progress at different rates. Every person has some music in them."

And written of her: "Thank you. You've taught me so much." Not written by a pupil but by a colleague. Delia has taught us all something. Some of that teaching has been administered through informal conversation, perhaps over a coffee, or in the Common Room, or at lunch with her daily pudding of two Kiwi fruit.

Delia has always enjoyed directing things and being in charge. Words and Music and the Prep School Concerts enabled her to stand at the centre and do just that.

With the support of her colleagues in the Prep School and the music department, she put on some great concerts. She's directed the Prep Orchestra, four recorder groups, junior choir, the whole school singing and produced an enjoyable programme involving other items, too. Those who came to her final Prep concert can be in no doubt as to the degree of affection in which she was held. The standing ovation said it all.

Delia has given much to enrich this school's music making. She has worked with great enthusiasm and determination to share her love of music with others. And she has succeeded. Her spirit will live on through her pupils and the wonderful framed collages in the corridors of the Music School. All this is a great tribute to her.

So thank you, Delia, for all that you have done, we shall miss you dearly, and we wish you and Mike all the very best for a long, fruitful, happy and fulfilled retirement.


Paul Hayler (by M Day)

Haberdashers’ on a dark winter’s evening can be a lonely place. Long after school is over, traverse the quad and your footsteps will echo harshly as if trying to catch the fleeting memory of larking students. But look up at the Aske Building and there you will almost certainly see a light still shining brightly. That will be Mr Hayler, hard at work in the Geography office, his light a metaphorical beacon for the most dedicated and hard working schoolmaster it has been my privilege to know.

Paul Hayler leaves Haberdashers’ after 38 years of unstinting loyalty and service to the school, yet extraordinarily, his arrival here in 1969 was entirely serendipitous. A Geologist by training and freshly graduated from Nottingham university, he was actively considering much more lucrative jobs in mining or retailing but purely by chance had spotted an advert in the local newspaper.

As all Mr Hayler’s pupils will know, Paul is an inveterate gambler – on anything. And on this hot July day his gamble would pay off handsomely. The Head of Geography at the time was a young visionary by the name of John Rolfe, supported by an equally ambitious headmaster, Dr Tom Taylor. John had led his department to the point where it had become one of the most forward looking in the country and now he was searching for someone with a science background to join his team, someone to specialise in physical systems and Geology. Always a shrewd judge of character, John recognised that in Paul they had found that very person.

Dr Taylor’s decision to appoint Paul, with no experience or qualifications, was remarkably far sighted. Paul loved teaching, and he would just as quickly fall in love with the school, going on to become one of Haberdashers’ most outstanding and loyal schoolmasters. His understanding and enthusiasm for his subject were quickly apparent. Geology is a broad science, encompassing elements of chemistry, physics and biology, and Paul quickly showed that he had an outstanding ability to bring the natural world to life.

This remarkable talent was recently publicly recognised in 2006, when former pupil, Robert Holdsworth, now Professor of Structural Geology at Durham University, was awarded the prestigious Aberconway Medal by the Royal Geological Society. At the presentation Robert spoke warmly and at length of ‘my geology teacher, Paul Hayler, who passed on so much enthusiasm and, by introducing me to the geology of the Cross Fell Inlier over five days in 1978, completely transformed my life.’

Field trips to Paul are like butter is to bread. It is inconceivable to him that anyone should try and teach about their planet without asking their pupils to tramp over it, look at it, knock bits off it, and get their hands (very) dirty. Boys have scrambled up steep cliffs, got muddy, found things, taken things home, and made endless plaster casts of strange fossils. Life was always lived on the edge when you were in the field with Mr Hayler. Fast moving tides and crumbling cliffs were just minor local difficulties. Learning had never been so much fun, nor so complete.

The trip dearest to Paul’s heart was an expedition with a small group of A Level students to the North East of Scotland, panning for gold. After a five hundred mile journey, and some initial searching, they did indeed strike lucky. After finding a tiny nugget of gold that had been washed down from the mountains, glinting in the river bed, gold fever took the little party by storm. Spending up to eighteen hours a day knee deep in freezing water, they eventually returned home exhausted, but triumphant - and just a little richer, more in experience than money.

Like all outstanding practitioners Paul is the complete schoolmaster. He has brought far more to the life of Haberdashers’ than just his subject. When not studying rocks and fossils he has been the enthusiastic master- in-charge of the hugely popular Stamp and Coin Club. Anyone who knows Paul will be aware that he has a very keen sense of profit and a good eye for the market, and when it comes to buying and selling, he’s a sharp operator. Such talents are well respected by the boys at Haberdashers’, and it was frequently standing room only when the weekly stamp and coin auction was held. Trips to exhibitions soon followed, and such was the quality of their work, that the club won a bronze model for their showing at the renowned international Stampex Exhibition in 1981.

This remarkable man also holds the Queen’s Commission. Flight Lieutenant Hayler, VRT RAF, was first persuaded to join the CCF by former colleague Barry Goater, but ended up spending 32 years with the unit - a quite remarkable achievement. It was my privilege to serve with Paul for many years, and I witnessed at first hand not only his extraordinary energy and dedication, but also his talented leadership of the boys. To Paul the CCF was a boys’ club, a hugely important institution that gave them the opportunity to understand the delicate art of leadership, and the chance to experience some real responsibility. A very good shot, Paul also used his RAF training to tutor many boys to marksmanship standard on the school’s rifle range.

It was Bruce McGowan, Tom Taylor’s successor, who later gave us Mr Hayler the Housemaster. Paul was a surprisingly reluctant recruit to this important position, but back in 1976 the Headmaster had the power to choose whosoever he wanted, and he wanted Paul, and no was not an acceptable answer. It was a wise choice. With his talent to inspire and his utterly selfless devotion to all the boys in his care, Paul is a Housemaster of the highest possible order. Whenever you talk to parents of boys in Calverts the conversation will quickly turn to Mr Hayler, what he has done for their son, how helpful he has been, and how understanding in a difficult situation. Paul has willingly spent countless hours at school, during evenings, weekends, and holidays, personally helping individual pupils to succeed – not just academically, but as a whole person. He has done it quietly, without fuss, and without once seeking recognition. No one has put so much of themselves into the job of being a schoolmaster than Paul. Telephone calls and emails continue long into the evening, sometimes picking up the pieces of a major disaster, sometimes to congratulate, or simply to encourage a reluctant learner. Paul has been intensely loyal to his House, and could be counted on to step in and support any boy in trouble whatever the situation he had just found himself in. Widely admired by pupils past and present, he maintains a large following of old boys who regularly enjoy corresponding with him, and who hold him in deepest respect.

Charity and Calverts have, of course, been synonymous for many years. Many thousands of pounds have been raised by Calverts boys under Paul’s leadership, to the direct and immediate benefit of a great number of people throughout the world. It is no exaggeration to say that Paul’s reach has become global.

Paul’s philosophy is underpinned by his Christian principles and an utterly selfless devotion to others. He lives life by a strict moral code. A man of massive inner strength yet a gentle outer touch, he is not to be underestimated. With no time for pomposity or window dressing, he prefers honesty and direct action, and will not shrink from firmness or punishment if he feels that will be to the ultimate good of the individual.

One major event in Paul’s professional life will serve to highlight this great inner strength. Paul was dealt a major blow in mid career, a blow that would have had devastating consequences for any lesser person. When the National Curriculum was announced in the mid nineteen nineties, Geology was not included in the list of core subjects. To Paul it was clear that the writing was on the wall for his life as a teacher. But with typical resourcefulness and determination he fought back. He applied for and was awarded a Fawcett Scholarship, allowing him to work for one day a week away from Haberdashers’ at UCL, studying for an A Level in Geography. Putting many of his pupils to shame, Paul passed the exam with flying colours, achieving an exceptionally high grade A in just a fraction of the recommended time. Armed with this new qualification, Paul has gone on to become one of the department’s most enthusiastic and successful Geography teachers; as successful an adaptation to a changing environment as any of the palaeontological species he has enjoyed studying.

Paul is a schoolmaster of the highest order and an acute observer of others. A friend to everyone he meets, he gives everything but asks nothing. He is a great listener, a wonderful confidant, and a giver of wise council.

If you measure the height of a man by the effect that his work has had on the success and happiness of others, then Mr Hayler must surely walk amongst the tallest.


Frank Hanbidge (by Mark Lampriere)

Frank almost didn't join the staff at Habs, in those long gone days of 1970. He tells a nicely judged tale of not really knowing that much about the school when he applied and how, on his teaching practice, someone mentioned a certain former colleague, one Marjorie Dawson, and that her husband, Keith, was Head of History at Habs. (Several of us recall Keith's later incarnation as Headmaster.) One of the most remarkable characteristics of Keith and Marjorie was a generosity of spirit. And so it was that Marjorie offered this fresh-faced young applicant a lift to the school for his interview. But on that early March day in 1970, heavy snow prevented access to Elstree. Luckily for the English department and the school, the interview was merely delayed 24 hours and Frank got the job, joining a small, but formidable group of very individual talents.

Thirty-six years is an enormous amount of time to spend in the same school and it speaks admirably of the loyalty Habs inspires in its best feathers, it also underlines the ways in which valued colleagues have been encouraged to develop and become fulfilled. Just think of all the roles Frank Hanbidge has played in his time here, as he retires as Head of Sixth Form and a distinguished member of the English department. He has been a past Head of Careers and Chairman of the Common Room, itself a significant mark of the respect in which he is held by colleagues.

We have all seen him tread the boards in numerous staff plays: not least his first and, 25 years later, with wonderful symmetry, his last: Stoppard's delightful The Real Inspector Hound. Frank has an actor's uncanny ability to transform himself,, by just removing the trademark glasses sometimes! He pulls himself up to his full height and appears almost unrecognisable. In addition, of course, there have been his wonderful monologues and recitaions in the Staff Entertainments, always delivered with such panache. For Frank is a great raconteur, telling a good story without too much embellishment and arriving at a point we didn't always see coming.

This is also a strength in the classroom. Not only does he bring fine subject and general knowledge to his classes, he also displays a discursive relish: he tells a good story. Observers of his lessons and generations of students always comment on that trajectory in his teaching. Over the years, I have shared many A level sets with Frank and their respect for his erudition and the range of his reference has been evident. I have often been consoled in my ignorance on some rarefied point by a helpful youth telling me not to worry, "Mr Hanbidge will know"!

Boys will, unsolicited, offer praise for his gently guiding technique and the depth of his knowledge. Frank seems to me to be someone, who perhaps in a slightly old fashioned way, believes himself to be an educator, preparing boys for life rather than making them, in the unhappy phrasing of the Head of OCA, ‘job ready'. Frank says that what he will probably miss most when he retires is "sharing the books", passing on to others, encouraging in others, a delight in literature and language. We have seen him do so to generations of Habs boys, vast numbers of whom have become his friends and several of whom are now working in the worlds of journalism and writing. What better accolade for this first rate teacher than to see these tangible, enduring tributes? To have inculcated shared passions and helped shape future writers is a tremendous achievement.

Am making him sound a bit dry, a bit serious? Like someone who is still, after all these years, discovering new aspects of well- thumbed texts? Well, in part, he is some of these things. But he is also full of courtesy, humour, wise counsel and wit. Over the last few years, the English department has had much need of Frank's stalwart. unceasingly generous support. Frank has always unhesitatingly stepped in to help us, the school and the students. He puts others' needs first.

He has a quirky interest in cars and has mastered e-mails (sending perfectly phrased ones which make them an almost acceptable alternative to the handwritten note). His ability to defuse a tricky moment with a witty observation we have all witnessed in classes or in the common room. It is not often Frank loses his calm demeanour, even when confronting the bearded, long-haired, coloured shirt-wearing recalcitrant sixth former. Frank shows us there are other ways of asserting yourself. Most often what we see, what we warm to and what we shall miss most is a witty, generous and gifted colleague who epitomises the qualities of a gentleman and a first rate schoolmaster.

Frank will now have more time to research, perhaps spending more time in Oxford where he and Carol have long enjoyed a base. He will have more time for walking the dog, his own or someone else's, no matter; more time for tinkering with cars. In any case, more time for himself and for Carol.


David Griffith

David dedicated his entire teaching career to Haberdashers’ and arrived in the same year as Frank Hanbidge, having started his professional career as an engineer at Hawker Siddeley. In his time at School David has taught over 4,700 boys all of whom will readily testify to David’s outstanding qualities – his erudition, his extensive knowledge, his attention to detail and his calm, gentle demeanour.

David has been Head of Electronics, which was taught with great success to O Level and to GCSE and then he took over from John Welbourne as Examinations Officer a post he held for over twenty years. He is unique in having been Common Room Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary (twice) as well as serving on the Common Room Committee for two further spells.


Reverend David Lindsay

David has been our School Chaplain for 26 years. He has looked after the interests of all faiths with a special love for the chapel and its role in promoting a fair and just world. We will miss his assemblies with their unique mix of laughter and pathos.


Jim Tarpey (by Andy Ward)

Jim Tarpey retires from the Maths department this year after 22 years service to the school. In that time, he has inspired a generation of Haberdashers' Mathematicians.

Jim is an outstanding teacher, of that there is no question. Many of the outstanding mathematicians who have been through the school in recent years owe their success in large part to Jim, whether it be as Further Maths teacher or from STEP classes. Jim has also mentored those who have gone on to International acclaim at Olympiad competitions.

In these times of political correctness, it's nice to be able to count on someone like Jim who can cut to the chase and tell it like it is. When frustrated by Year 9's inability to comprehend a well-known theorem, he was overheard to utter: "The useless bleeders have used Pythagoras' completely gratuitously ... and every one of them has done it wrong!"

As for the reaction which Lynda, his wife, brought about when she spent £150 on a hand knitted country landscape woollen sweater featuring amongst other things clouds and sheep ...

Jim has also been a stalwart of the Army section of the CCF, and most recently has served as the Officer commanding of the CCE Over the years, this has involved many trips and camps and Field days. One such overnight camp occurred on an Autumn Field day in the late 1980's. Jim sensibly decided that there was a better level of comfort to be had in his car during the night. When he woke up in the morning, his attention was drawn to the fact that the campsite had been subject to Michael Fish's hurricane, and all of the boys' tents had blown away.

My earliest recollections of Jim are somewhat hazy . .. a Sunday afternoon in 1988 spent in the Garibaldi in St. Albans, involving several pints of Fullers' ESB and a kickabout at the Stade de Tarpey with Jim's son (and future School Captain) Andrew. Little did I know that most Sunday lunchtimes in the Tarpey household have followed a similar format since that time, minus the football.

Since that time, we have shared many a beer together. Many of them have unsurprisingly coincided with pub quizzes. Jim's performance in quizzes is bordering on legendary as those who have witnessed him in the School's University Challenge or at supper quizzes will testify He has possibly the most encyclopaedic knowledge of anyone I have ever met, ranging from the life and works of Leonard Cohen to Knitting. For a number of years we would frequent the Three Horseshoes on Harpenden Common for their quiz on alternate Mondays, but after taking them for over 0000 in prize winnings, it's no surprise to find that the pub was closed down temporarily, only to reopen recently as a somewhat gaudily painted eatery.

Rather appropriately, Jim decided that his leaving function (or, to use his own vernacular, "The collective raising of goodbye digits to Jim") should take the form of a gentle stroll around some of St.Albans choicest hostelries, concluding with a very pleasant lunch in the White Hart Tap.

Deliberation over a suitable gift from the Maths department was relatively short and decisive; St. Albans being the home of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, a life membership seemed entirely appro­priate. The School community and the Maths department in particular, will miss him.


Stephen Wilson (by Jon Corrall)

The ultimate test of friendship and collegiality was demonstrated to me a few years ago, in what now seems a small incident, when I had just taken over my current job. I found myself in the hugely embarrassing situation of being fog-bound in Bahrain whilst returning from India when the following day I was due to be sitting in the blue chair on stage on the first day of the new term. The only person I felt I could face, telephonically speaking, was Stephen. I knew he would think of all the things to be done, inform all the people who needed to be informed, personally cover for me where he could and do all of this in a way which was neither censorious nor laced with schadenfreude. I was not receiving special treatment. Over Stephen's entire career of 32 years at HABS, in and out of school and in small ways and large, service to others has been a universally acknowledged characteristic, be it the willingness to umpire a cricket match at short notice or to devote huge amounts of his time to the mentally or physically handicapped. Any colleague or friend struck by misfortune would receive a reassuring and encouraging message of support from him. When Stephen suffered his terrible car crash in 2001 the overwhelming response from current and former colleagues and pupils, parents and friends of the school simply proved what we all knew - that affection and admiration for Stephen were universal.

Stephen's career has followed a pattern, which is not untypical of many (including myself to a remarkably similar extent). He was born in the post Second World War baby boom and, as a child with ability from a very modest working class background, he had the chance to develop these talents at grammar school. (Those who failed the 11+ were not so fortunate, but that is another story.) Stephen attended King Henry VIII School Coventry where he was taught by a youthful Bob Tyler, later to become Master i/c of the Middle School at HABS. Stephen has always felt that his involvement as a leading figure in the debating society at school prepared him for his very public role here, and who can question the value to our school of someone with Stephen's astonishing skills as a public speaker. As with many in this more egalitarian post-war society he was the first in his family ever to go to university when he won a place at Jesus College, Cambridge to read French and German. We provincials easily avoided the swinging 60s as they did not seem to arrive either in our Midlands home town or in Cambridge. In those days, too, before the advent of lucrative City jobs a very high proportion of Oxbridge graduates went into teaching, which duly became Stephen's path. Apart from a short but memorable period at a comprehensive school in Powys, the rest of the story has unfolded at I IABS. When I arrived in 1978 from Merchant Taylors', Stephen was already an established figure in the Modern Languages Department. Soon he was to be elected as Housemaster of Joblings in the days when the entire Modem Languages Department and the Housemaster were shoehorned into what is now Joblings' Housemaster's room plus bookstore.

In 1983 the Headship of the Junior School became vacant and Bruce McGowan invited Stephen to take on the job. We all know the talents and personal qualities that have served the school so well over the years. We speak of an encyclopaedic memory but Stephen's mind anticipated the computer age in its astonishing ability to recall the smallest detail and to process information. Although he no doubt had some tricks up his sleeve, which like all good magicians he has never revealed, generations of pupils would be baffled and amazed by his ability to recall birthday dates, siblings' names, former schools and teachers, individual achievements arid so on - not an unhelpful skill in a schoolmaster with a major pastoral role.

Some of these details reflect one of Stephen's most important contributions to the school. Year after year he has masterminded the 11+ entrance examinations and interviews. The task is immense, and I have an abiding memory of Stephen clutching huge, dilapidated files of documents, which have been endlessly consulted far into the night in ensuring that we secured the best pupils for our Year 7 entry. In preparation for this Stephen has also worked away at establishing good relations with our feeder schools both in the private and the public sector despite the vicissitudes of political changes and attitudes. He has taken assemblies in primary and prep schools, ensured regular contact with Headteachers, remembered to report back achievements of boys to their old school, allayed fears by ensuring that new boys received a personalized booklet written by the current Year 7, reassuring them that, despite its size, Haberdashers' is a friendly and welcoming place to come to. This has been no mean feat given the large number of schools who send children to HABS but with his astonishing eye for detail no opportunity has been missed.

A sign of a good schoolmaster is that he embraces the whole job. In languages Stephen has never failed to offer his services beyond the call of duty to university applicants or to Year 7 boys who need extra help. His extra-curricular support has been whole-hearted from his accom¬panying innumerable groups to France and Germany (in recent years to Offenburg, but he helped me launch junior trips to the Rhine Valley 25 years ago) to his expert work for Learning Support and the Library Committee. And whilst his closest friends would not accuse him of being an accomplished sportsman, his knowledge of sport and his sustained interest in school sport have been faultless and the information gleaned put to expert use in encouraging or summing up a boy. If a volunteer was sought for a charity event such as a balloon debate, Stephen was unfailingly your man, and his work for Cell Barnes Hospital or as a Governor of Radlett Lodge School for Autistic Children found a natural extension in school in Mencap Funday and his SCS work with children with learning disabilities. We trust that his wide range of interests in all aspects of school life will allow him to continue to play an active part in the school community.

The 11th September 2001 was a strange day for me, as, tragically, for so many; a day when the world was turned upside down. We all know the terrible outcome of the events of 9/11; but at HABS it started early that morning with a message on my answer machine informing me that Stephen had been involved in a serious car accident. I telephoned five neighbouring hospitals before establishing that he was in intensive care in Barnet, and in the following months we all understood what a miraculous escape it had been. Recovery was slow and uncertain, and it made us all realist! how important Stephen is to us and how we, as with so many things, had taken so much for granted. It is a sign of strength that psychologically he has been able to resume much of his former work. Physically he is having to accept certain limitations, which have led to his being granted early (but not that early!) retirement on medical advice.

Stephen has brought an entire career's devotion to his job. He would consider himself fortunate that he found his niche; HABS must celebrate the fact that a man of this ability and with these qualities has put the school before many other things, and has done so with a mixture of firmness and kindness, charity and zeal. He has also brought a mischievous sense of humour to our lives here with zany practical jokes in his Junior assemblies and brilliantly crafted, gently satirical sketches for staff charity concerts, making fun, in equal measure, of the old fogies and the new fangled. He will regret that an ever decreasing number of pupils will understand in the original language the lines of Goethe which might well sum up Stephen's aspiration in his work with us:

''Edel sei der Mensch, hilfreich und gut, denn das allein unterscheidet ihn von alien Wesen, die wir kennen."

("From Goethe's das Gottliche. "May man be noble, helpful and good; for that alone distinguishes him from all other creatures known to us.")       


John Rose - by Jon Corrall

It has become something of a tradition for departing colleagues of some years' service to address 6th form assembly. Such an address often takes the form of a brief trip down Memory Lane, or, for the more philosophically minded, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”. But not for John. When I arrived at the Seldon Hall, I assumed that assembly had been moved and had given way to a major charity event. Three tables were set out in University Challenge style, two for boys' teams and one for staff and each table sported an immaculate line of wine bottles and glasses. The compere was John and the assembly took the somewhat unusual form of a sophisticated wine quiz cum tasting. Whilst a little early in the day for even the most bibulous of us, we other members of staff present were variously amused, bemused and relieved that we had not been invited to answer the fiendishly taxing questions. The 6th formers were delighted when a boys' team won. 

To my mind, this exercise brought out some of John's most remarkable and endearing features. His outstanding organisational skills were evident, as was his ability to combine a seriousness of purpose with a great sense of fun and a sophistication and good taste, which are sometimes lost amidst humdrum routine. (How did he manage to persuade General Studies to allow him to pursue this splendid mixture of Business and Pleasure over so many years?) Most of all it showed an enthusiasm and a passion, which are the marks of a good school­teacher and something only the best manage to sustain over a lifetime. 

My good fortune was to share the running of first year cricket with John over 23 years. John had already been in charge for several years before my arrival and, throughout this entire period, I had a chance to witness his dedication to the task and his total reliability. I have much to be grateful for, as John would master-mind every aspect of the organisation, would cover for me when I could not be there and would volunteer to drive the minibus to the less attractive away fixtures - try driving to Latimer Upper on a Friday afternoon with the prospect of spending the afternoon on a field overlooking Wormwood Scrubs. But, perhaps most importantly he would share the fun and enjoyment of bringing along young cricketers. No sentimental Mr Chips, John was a hard task-master and he would always insist that things were done properly; boys knew their fielding positions, learnt to score, took turns in carrying the kit, wore the proper clothing, called and ran well between the wickets. And he didn't mind winning. 

First and second year boys have also loved the end-of-summer term Junior House cricket competition, a complex, idiosyncratic and exciting undertaking, devised and run for many years by John who rallied his colleagues into sharing the umpiring of the matches and keeping the (extremely complex) score. 

And the school records testify to the numbers of boys who, building on sound foundations, went on to achieve great things in later years or, just as important, the less talented, who developed and sustained an interest throughout their time at school. Generations of these boys have reason to be grateful to John for instilling in them sound principles and good techniques. Year in, year out he would give up his Friday evenings and a good chunk of his Saturdays to umpire the matches - with one annual request for release when he had treated himself to a seat at Covent Garden. The request would always come about four months in advance before I had even grasped the significance. 'Would you be able to do the 25th June?'. 

But all this time, what of Music? I have described a devotion to Junior Cricket of which a PE man would be proud. But, of course, wine and cricket have been extra-curricular interests beyond the world of John's specialities in the Music Department. In musical matters I write as an interested amateur, but, of course, a music teacher at HABS has a very public role and must withstand the scrutiny of us all. The professional schoolmaster I can see in the organisation, the precision and the willingness to roll up his sleeves and shift the scenery and the music stands with the rest of them. These organizational talents found over his entire

30 years in administering and accompanying the Associated Board Music exams. In the conducting you can see the combination of discipline and enthusiasm, the insistence upon both standards and the pleasure of it all. Musicians, like linguists, make a lifestyle of their subject. Our private passions become our public ones, and our greatest weakness, which is to bestow too much intensity on our activity, becomes our greatest strength. But, as with all public performances, the member of the audience does not witness the painstaking preparation at lunchtime and after school, the frustrations of boys' irregular attendance at rehearsals, the clash with other activities. John has driven his way through these difficulties with a fierce determination, typical of his Viking origins. 

His particular speciality has been the annual Woodwind concert, which remains a favourite amongst the programme of mid-week events during the year. But, of course, he has also had a leading role in many high-profile events, in the Spring concert and, most memorably, when the school has performed at the Barbican, the Festival Hall, St Alban's Abbey or, as last year, at St John Smith Square. Add to this the school musicals such “Oh What A Lovely War”, Sandy Wilson’s stylish and colourful 'The Boyfriend”  and, in the early days, the premiere of the children's musical, written by Jeremy James Taylor, Captain Stirrick' and you will rightly detect a broadly-based love of music from the popular Musical to jazz. These can be set alongside his favourites, represented by his choice for the Prep concert, of Handel, Schubert, Gershwin and Britten. 

As a well-qualified graduate of Edinburgh University, John has also enioyed his A level teaching. One particular highlight was a group of 9 A level candidates who not only studied the twelve-tone Webern Concerto, but actually performed it as well! No stick-in-the-mud, John also pioneered the first series of GCSE courses in the late 1980s. It has been a personal pleasure knowing someone who shares my love of the German Romantics and, in particular, the sad, mad Hugo Wolf. Not that we possess any of the manic intensity of that great man. 

Some of John's fondest memories belong to those days when, with the then Director of Music, Alan Taylor, John would help prepare the Boys' Choir for performance at Covent Garden in operas which included the German heavyweights of Tannhauser and ParsifaI and popular favourites such as Carmen and Midsummer Night's Dream. So good were the urchins in one of the performances of Carmen - directed by the famous Spanish Director, Nuria Espert and televised - that the then resident chorus was compared and described in the Times as 'their (HABS' boys) elders but not necessarily their betters.' As I had played a modest part in coaching pronunciation, John invited me to accompany the boys to some of the performances. And what a strange world it was backstage as you were jostled by impeccably dressed Spanish flowergirls, toreadors, Gipsies and, for that production, fine white horses. Only ten feet away, Don Jose would pour out his heart to an invisible audience. Old Haberdashers often recall this experience as their defining moment at school and, in doing so, they remember John. 

Finally, where would musicians be without the Church? As well as his musical contribution to the school Chapel, we should not forget the seven Carol Services that John directed and which covered the history of the Carol Service over the last 30 years, starting at St Martin-in­-the-Fields, then to Aldenham church and finishing with our now regular visit to St Albans Abbey.

Lucky is the Head of Department who can rely upon a man with this level of involvement and commitment. John teaches from conviction and passion and of such qualities are good schools and good schoolmasters made. He can look back over 30 years and, with Othello, proudly claim: ' I have done the state some service, and they know't.' And he will follow with the self-deprecating. 'No more of that'.



Gordon Richardson


Sylvia Fancy

Sylvia was already known to us as the mother of Christopher and Stephen when she arrived in 1989 to teach in the Prep School and at once showed she is an indefatigable worker and an inspired teacher. She was appointed as a mathematician and able musician and has given countless boys in the Prep an excellent grounding in all the subjects she has taught. No-one in her geography lessons could fail to notice her enthusiasm and love for the Lake District, nor in her English lessons her appreciation of well-constructed language. Her notes about 'Swallows and Amazons' have introduced many boys to the delights of reading seriously and her literature lessons have been full of glorious stories and poetry.

Mathematics in the Prep. has always been an important area in the curriculum with the highest standards sought and achieved; and in the years Sylvia Fancy has been here she has taught every boy on his way through P5 and P6 and has shown each, star or anxious stumbler, the elegance of mathematical concepts and the satisfaction of mastering them. Her lunchtime Maths club in the Library for the less confident has given new insight to Library Mums and staff as well: we wish we had been in her classes!

Sylvia is most well-known at Haberdashers' for her music. She has trained, nursed, cajoled, required and inspired Junior and Senior Choirs and in particular the very special Chamber Choir. Any boy who has sung with Mrs. Fancy knows that the music (and words) are paramount: the performance is important in that it is a conduit for expressing what the music is and boys have the experience of being part of that channel between composer and audience. We have heard and seen them forgetting self, and not only making a lovely, joyful noise, but growing in spirit. No-one who has heard Mrs. Fancy accompany an instrumentalist in Prep Assembly, or has walked through the hall when she has been playing Bach, will ever forget it; and we recall vividly the energetic music she has given in many Prep. productions: two 'Josephs', Rats!, Cats and many others. It is hard to write too glowingly about her outstanding contribution to Prep music, and especially hard to write of her increasing problems with hearing, gallantly borne and practically managed.

Her colleagues in the Prep - and parents too - know how much love and attention Sylvia has put into the nurture and support she has given to the boys in her form. It is said that teaching is like gardening. If that is so, then she has provided the very best growing any child could have: a top quality compost of affection and rigour, expecting the best from boys who are eager to prove her confidence in them right, wisdom when dealing with lapses of behaviour which they regret, understanding when difficulties are more than they can manage. Every boy feels she is on his side; and she is. The highest compliment she can pay is 'he always gives of his best'.

No appreciation of Sylvia's work in the Prep would be complete without remembering the yearly Preston Montford Field Trips with P7 and P8. She was Medicine Man and Surrogate Mother to many a valiant and homesick boy. 'Do you think your mother will be happier or less happy when you ring off if you tell how you feel this first evening?' has shown a number of boys how to be kind and keep that call for a more cheerful Day Two. Her round of the bedrooms before lights out prompted many attempts at coughing - Mrs. Fancy's throat pastilles were delicious. Stream-dipping and castle-climbing, hill-walking and ghost stories on the Stiperstones found her in her element and the boys thrived.

Enough of the boys: her colleagues have relished her company and wicked dead-pan utterances in the staffroom, and her generosity and kindness in times of stress; and have envied her beautiful handwriting and ability to write an apposite report. No colleague ought to be allowed all these graces and it is a measure of the affection Sylvia engenders that no-one holds it against her. We are grateful that she has been in this place at this time. She, indeed, has always given of her best, and her best is superb.


Joan Hayes

Joan Hayes leaves us after over fourteen years as Head of I.C.T., or I.T. as it was for most of her time. She joined the School in 1979 as a laboratory technician, after an early career in computing and a break to raise her son and daughter. She is justly proud of the photographs of her operating an early Elliott computer, the size of a classroom!

Joan's abilities and dedication are illustrated by the way in which she obtained an Open University B.A. degree in December 1984 while working at the School. After this, she taught in Further Education, studying for her P.G.C.E. on day release. She took up her I.T. role here in January 1988 as Head of Computing within the Mathematics Department, and Computing became a department in its own right in September 1989. At this time the computers in the School consisted of one room of B.B.C. machines, six Apple Macintosh computers and an Alpha Micra mainframe with ten bulky terminals! It was Joan's dedication that built up the department to the level we see today, so that the computing system operates to commercial levels of service.

Joan has always striven to keep I.T.'s profile high both internally and externally, something which was noted and reported by the Daily Telegraph reporter who visited the School in the mid-1990s and described Joan's style (very aptly) as 'missionary zeal'. This was published in the Daily Telegraph Independent Schools Year Book, and Joan took a long time to live this down.

Outside school Joan's interests are varied, but her pride shows in her quilting and embroidering activities, displayed at school on many occasions. The upholstery of the chairs in the foyer of Aldenham House and the chapel altar frontal were the result of her direction for the School's 300th anniversary in 1990. For many years she has held a passion for dogs: one of Joan's party pieces for visitors departing from her home was to line up her three Border Collies on the staircase, where they demonstrated training and behaviour that would put some pupils here to shame.


Dick Norton

Dick Norton retires after 37 years at Haberdashers' during which time he has been totally involved in the life of the School in virtually every imaginable area. For many years he was Housemaster of Hendersons, and as well as this demanding task, he became Head of French, for a time holding both positions concurrently. For twenty years he ran the 2nd XI cricket team where his enthusiasm and dedication ensured that many players, striving for a place in Doug Yeabsley's 1st XI, both enjoyed their cricket and took it very seriously.

For all linguists business and pleasure cannot be separated; it becomes a life style. Originally a Spanish specialist, Dick's love of France became unstoppable after an exchange year in Provence, and as Head of French he developed opportunities for boys to travel to France and stay in families at all levels of the school. Particularly successful have been the junior trips to St. Die in Alsace and Chambery in the French Alps, both in terms of quality of experience and huge numbers of participants.

As Head of Modern Languages he has pursued the high and low aspects of French culture with a great sense of gusto, organising and co-ordinating two splendid productions of French plays, which were acted by 'A' level linguists with authenticity and to an astonishing standard. His love of French wine has always added an important bacchanalian element to the running of the department to counteract Apollonian tendencies of those who take life too seriously.

He is a splendid example of a man who has maintained his love of his subject over many years which is both a tribute to his stamina in teaching a demanding subject and testimony to his belief in the importance of modern languages in professional and personal terms.


Borgie Wood

Borgie has been with us for twelve years, eight of them as head of German. An inspirational teacher and head of department, she is passionate about her subject and about her work. She has built up an impressive variety of exchanges and work experience visits to Germany and has worked tirelessly to maintain the quality and strength of her department. She will be solely missed and we wish her well for the future.


Caroline Wakely (again)

Caroline has continued to run the Prep. School Library since she retired from full-time teaching three years ago. 'Her' library is a haven in which to enjoy the wonders of the written word and many hundreds of boys owe their love of books and reading to her enthusiasm and inspiration.


Doug Yeabsley

Doug joined the Chemistry department in 1964 directly after leaving St Luke's College, Exeter and has devoted his entire teaching career of thirty-eight years to the care and education, in every sense, of the boys placed in his charge. In 1971 he was appointed Housemaster of Russells and, as the youngest housemaster in the School, he brought with him a fresh approach to the ideas of pastoral care in a day school. He fulfilled this role for fifteen years so that three generations of Haberdashers benefited from his style of leadership.

Outside the classroom, Doug has made an enormous impact on the Haberdashers' sporting scene. In addition to his commitment to cricket where he seems to have the ability to inspire individuals and teams to exceptional achievement, he has coached rugby both at 1st XV level and with an age-group side. He was responsible for the introduction of sports tours to the school's fixture list, which began with him generously opening up his family holiday home for an end-of-season cricket tour to Devon and then expanded these to include a number of memorable tours to the Far East.

His experience in raising funds for these tours led to him being asked to organise an appeal which helped to launch the vital regeneration of the 1960s' buildings. To support this programme Doug began the massive task of building up a complete database of Old Haberdashers as the first step to forging new and stronger links between the School and its former pupils. In addition, he agreed to co-ordinate the work of the newly-created Parents' Social Committee which was established to encourage parents to feel more of a part of the school community.

We are delighted that Doug has agreed to continue with this vital work of liaising with parents and old boys and look forward to benefiting from his knowledge and experience for a while longer.


Gerry McGrogan

Gerry joined the school in 1973 after working in industry. In his twenty-nine years he has taught Mathematics to thousands of boys and in more recent years he has added Information Technology. The erudition and scholarship which he brings to these tasks is reflected in the course books he has written for the Open University higher level Computation courses.

His passion for and technical knowledge of technical matters has also found outlet through the S.C.S. Audio-visual group, who also seem to assimilate the ethos of selfless service that so characterises Gerry's contributions to the life of the School. A thoughtful and compassionate colleague he has always been a stalwart of the Roman Catholic community at Haberdashers'.


Hugh Pearman

Picture the scene, it is the late seventies or early eighties, a perfect summer's day early in July, the atmosphere is balmy and the sky a cloudless blue. The top cricket square at Elstree is still green and lush, barely dried out from the traditional cold and wet start to the cricket season, and there are the usual clusters of spectators at the pavilion and perched on picnic chairs in front of Aldenham House. The game in progress is the annual clash between the first eleven and a staff team; the friendly match which is, of course, anything but friendly. The stocky man at the crease plays the ball to the leg-side, the stroke seems easy and relaxed, almost lazy, but the ball is moving very fast through a gap in the field near the square-leg umpire. The roll of the batsman's wrists has kept the ball low; there is no hint of a chance for the fielder as the ball races to the boundary.

The batsman is Hugh Pearman and, for me, this moment captures the man and the seemingly effortless, graceful manner of his achievements at Haberdashers'. Hugh belongs to an elite group of schoolmasters who combine first-rate academic credentials with outstanding sporting achievements. Such men were unusual in the 1960s and 1970s and have become a real rarity today. Hugh is retiring from teaching this year after thirty-one years, twenty-seven of which have been dedicated, in every sense, to Haberdashers'.

Hugh studied Chemistry at the University of St Andrew's and took his Post-Graduate Certificate in Education at Cambridge University. After completing his P.G.C.E. he took up a post at Queen's School in Bushey, quickly rising to Head of Department. This was in the early 1970s when Margaret Thatcher was Secretary of State for Education and the drive to complete the comprehensive school revolution was at its height. In 1974 Hugh took the decision to relinquish his administrative responsibilities and join the Chemistry Department at Haberdashers'.

Those were innocent days: staff wore safety goggles on rare occasions of great danger (the boys never did), all manner of solutions were pipetted by mouth and an 'O' Level Chemistry paper barely covered two sides of A4 paper. Hugh quickly established himself as an excellent teacher. His secure command of the subject and relaxed but firm control of a class made him genuinely popular among the boys. His enthusiasm for Chemistry is, as with many things, understated but real and very deep and he has a genuine knack for simplifying complex ideas. To be in Mr Pearman's set was to be assured of a happy and successful year.

In a school which has always had more than its fair share of gifted boys, Hugh also found ways of supporting and encouraging the strugglers and making them feel cared for and valued. One former pupil still remembers Mr Pearman's optimistic encouragement after a disastrous first year exam; the boy never did make much sense of Chemistry but warmly appreciated the kindness. Hugh became a kind of sheet anchor for the Chemistry Department, the proverbial 'safe pair of hands' who could be confidently entrusted with classes of all age and abilities.

Hugh was much in demand as a form tutor; he was relaxed and approachable but, at the same time, a stickler for ensuring that the basic routines of the form were completed. Hugh's pastoral work was mainly with the sixth form and he proved adept at steering boys through this vital transition stage from schoolboy to independent student. He created a warm, accepting atmosphere in his forms and' gave advice with tact and wisdom to young men who were on the verge of adulthood but who, so often, needed guidance, understanding and a sense of direction from a respected adult figure.

Hugh's trademark facility for completing tasks with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss also brought welcome relief to his head of department. He completed those vital tasks like drafting examination papers and organising the large-scale printing of teaching materials with exemplary skill. As time went by Hugh became a key figure in easing the introduction of new colleagues into the department's way of working and offering all the wisdom and expertise of an outstanding teacher to a novice, while never labouring his seniority. Long before the terms 'mentor' and 'induction' became buzzwords for aspiring educational managers, Hugh was mentoring and inducting young teachers into the Chemistry Department.

Hugh is always good company. He is a sympathetic listener with a shrewd insight into human nature; he views life in general and the vagaries of life at Elstree in particular with compassion and a wry sense of humour. A not so high-flying member of one of Hugh's academically more challenged sixth form groups remarked that the top science set of their year contained the academic cream of the country. He concluded, with impeccable logic, that this put him and the rest of his set, 'just below the cream'. In the Chemistry Department this memorable phrase became an enduring euphemism for those boys who, whatever their other talents and gifts, were always going to find the subject a bit of a puzzle.

Hugh's greatest contribution outside the classroom at Haberdashers' has been to school sport. Hugh is a sporting natural, but such is his natural modesty that few of the boys he coaches are aware of his achievements. Hugh was a promising junior tennis player; he was selected to join the L.T.A. Junior Coaching Scheme and won the Middlesex and South of England under 15 championships. While at university Hugh played football for St. Andrews and the Scottish Universities and much later he carved out a new winter sports career, playing hockey for St. Albans.

All this would be more than enough sporting achievement for most people but for Hugh, tennis, football and hockey take second place to cricket. Hugh is a marvellously gifted cricketer. After a distinguished career as a junior, he played for St. Andrews and the Scottish Universities and was awarded a blue during his year at Cambridge, also playing for the combined Oxford and Cambridge XI against the West Indian tourists. From 1964 to 1972 Hugh played for Middlesex, mainly for their 2nd XI but turning out on a number of occasions for the 1st XI.

For the last quarter of a century Hugh has given generously of his time and energy to coaching cricket and hockey at Haberdashers'. Like everything Hugh does his coaching is a model of calm professionalism. Boys are taught not just skills, tactics and strategies but also the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship and school sport is placed in its proper educational context. Team practices are frequent, regular and meticulously organised and the long hours umpiring after school during the week or on Saturdays are accepted as an integral part of the job. Hugh has travelled with two cricket tours of the Far East and both benefited enormously from his presence as both sporting expert and antidote to the more volatile members of the touring party.

Outside school Hugh is a devoted family man and a keen gardener. He has the proverbial green fingers and plants thrive under his attention; all who visit his home pay tribute to his skill. There are great affinities between cultivating plants and educating children. Both require expert knowledge, skill, patience and the confidence to allow things to develop in their own time. Hugh possesses all these qualities and his achievements reflect this.

Hugh will be a great loss to teaching but he will not be lost entirely to Haberdashers'. He is taking the unusual step of starting a new career as a Chemistry technician, so next year we will continue to see Hugh in his new role working in the Chemistry Department. It is even possible that he will continue to offer his services to the cricket and hockey clubs at School.


Jill Hackford

The retirement of a colleague is often rightly the occasion for superlatives to describe their' contribution; in Jill Hackford's case it is difficult to think of a fresh one to do her full justice, so effective a presence has she been in Classics, in the School and in the teaching profession generally. She is certainly a very special person; those who last summer term heard her address on 'Wisdom' to the sixth form will have heard the wise speaking.

On joining the Common Room in January 1989 Jill brought with her a wealth of teaching experience from maintained and independent schools and V.S.O. She was trained, as she says, in the days when discipline was centred on the maxim, "When in doubt, clout!" but her philosophy has always been to win over her pupils rather than to intimidate them or bludgeon them into submission; there is no doubting the affection she inspires - and respect. Many boys have been coaxed into reciting the paradigm of 'ide hace hoc' at break-neck speed with the promise of a Mars bar as a reward for the fastest.

There can be few teachers who have spent quite so much time as Jill at lunch-time and after school teaching, counselling and listening to pupils - notably members of her form for whom she has shown the greatest of care. The arrangements for a surprise party to mark her retirement (to which all her past and present 'A' level pupils were invited) occasioned some delightful letters about her.

We see the mother in Jill - motherhood was once described by her as "the most difficult and the most rewarding job I have ever done". That loving concern has often been shown to colleagues on the staff and about them in the privacy of the Classics office; the sense that Jill cares for people has brought many of us to an affection and deep respect for her. Jill's firmly held Christian beliefs have lain at the heart of all that she has done; her moral and ethical standards have led her to lament the absence of transparency and straightforwardness among some of today's pupils and the unreadiness of schools to tackle the issue head-on without fear.

Lament could well describe, too, Jill's response to the School's continuing neglect of Classics within the curriculum of all boys; she would say despair and anger. She is a fervent evangelist for her subjects and has no truck with the view that they are just dead languages; a visit to her lessons dispels any such ideas. It was Jill who pioneered - and had to fight hard for the recognition of extra-curricular Greek classes leading to G.C.S.E. and 'AS' level in the sixth form; two sessions a week over three years and high grades in examinations have testified to her and her pupils' commitment and enthusiasm.

A great supporter of the School in almost all activities, Jill has rarely missed a dramatic or musical offering. She always supported Crosstalk and led it for some years; her contribution to the life of the Chapel has been notable. Few pupils who have seen it will forget the "pink blob", Mrs H. dressed in a violently coloured anorak striding out at the front along Hadrian's Wall on one of her regular trips to the Romans' final frontier. Her knowledge and infectious enthusiasm have been a mark of all her expeditions, including the grand tours to Italy, Greece and Provence.


Douglas Whittaker

Born and bred in Knotty Ash - yes, missus, it does exist - Doug attended Liverpool Institute with Peter Sissons, and a year ahead of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, and there joined the C.C.F., which has played such a part in his life. In those innocent days, cadets took their rifles home on the tram, cleaned them at home over the weekend and returned them to school on Monday.

A scholarship took him to Christ Church, Oxford and after graduating he took up his first post in 1962, teaching mathematics at Bedford Modern. He survived a headmaster fierce enough to cancel half-term holiday when nobody owned up to making a noise in assembly, and left after two years, but not before organising a Field Day at Ampthill Park. He brought this bright idea to his next appointment: Haberdashers'.

In his first spell at Elstree, he learned to sail, and has since gone on to become a Senior Instructor of the Royal Yachting Association, passing on his skills to generations of Haberdasher boys. After four years here, he moved on to Atlantic College, in South Wales, where life consisted of sums, sailing, sweated labour, but not much sleep before returning to Elstree in 1970 becoming Head of Mathematics in 1973.

As generations of boys will testify, Doug is an inspiring teacher, certainly a one-off, possessed of great skill in the techniques of Mathematics ... and the only member of staff able to remove his shirt without first removing his jacket. His colleagues will testify to his remarkable knowledge of so many branches of the subject. Well, so what? The teachers here are expected to know their subjects. What makes Doug special is his ability to challenge the boys to provoke them into thinking in new ways, to give them the desire and the confidence to get stuck in to the problems the like of which they have never seen before.

The later success of his students at university is directly related to the combative approach which he instills in them. He is always ready to scrap the lesson and go down any promising side-track, sees a syllabus as a bare minimum to be taught, and coursework as the feeble-minded drivel it usually is.

In the 1960s, he introduced computing here, making Haberdashers' one of the first schools in the land to do it, and in 1998 two years from retirement, instead of thinking of slippers and firesides, he set up his first problem-solving weekend conference - in France, of course where else? - an idea which has now expanded to three conferences a year in various places. Doug will still run these in retirement, and will keep his mathematical muscles in trim by teaching two courses for the Open University, for which he has taught since its inception.

His management of the Maths. Department is much appreciated by his colleagues. It is characterised by a complete absence of paper and minutes, and a scarcity of meetings. He prefers instead the method of conversation between humans; this results in harmony and mutual respect. The Mathematics Department is indeed a happy ship.

He became an officer in the C.C.F. at Bedford Modern, initially in the R.A.F. section. He switched his allegiance to the Royal Navy at the start of his second spell at Elstree, and became the Commanding Officer of the R.N. section in 1976. In 1985 he was appointed Contingent Commander of Haberdashers' C.C.F., and attained the naval rank of Commander, which is as far as James Bond ever got.

Membership of the corps at Elstree is voluntary, as it should be, but by the mid 1970s numbers had fallen away, and by the mid-1980s had recovered to about 180. That the figure these days is nearly 300 is due in no small measure to Doug's enthusiasm and vision. He changed General Inspections from large static parades to all-action inter-service competitions, releasing the energy of the cadets. He encouraged giving cadets as much responsibility as possible on the grounds that they learn leadership by having to lead.

The annual Prefects' Training Day, which he and Mark Lloyd-Williams run, owes much to ideas of C.C.F. leadership training. He expanded the amount of adventurous training and acted upon the fact that C.C.F. stands for Combined Cadet Force, encouraging joint activities between the sections; for example all three services use Ampthill Park for the October Field Day.

He has always been ahead of the game foreseeing the litigious, health and safety obsessed world we now live in, and the reduced financial support from the M.O.D.; his planning and provision has ensured that the corps will continue to flourish.

We wish Doug all the best for his retirement when, no doubt, he will indulge his passion for travel, with the added bonus of travelling in term-time rather than in the school holidays. As a teacher, a head of department, a contingent commander and a friend, he is the genuine article. He will be missed. 


John Rolfe (again)

John was a member of the Geography department since 1959, for many years as head of department, until he retired from teaching in 1995. At that point, he continued in a part-time capacity with responsibility for the school coach service, which he had instituted when the school moved to Elstree and which he has managed expertly ever since. John's particular knowledge and experience of the coach service in all its complexity - so vitally important in the daily lives of about 1,700 boys and girls - is incomparable.


Roger Wakely

Roger retires from teaching this year (1994) after thirty-one years service on the staff at Haberdashers'. After graduating at Oxford in the nineteen-fifties, Roger worked for six years in industry, first for ICI and then for GEC where he worked in Education and Training. This later experience led him to consider school teaching and in 1963 he made the transition.

He is fond of contrasting the complexity of our present appointments system with the disarming simplicity of his own experience; a single phone call, an interview with Tom Taylor, and that it seems was that.

The extent of Roger's contribution to the School since that appointment is truly extraordinary. At various times he has been Head of Careers, Head of Practical Design, Head of Science and Industrial Fellow. In addition, for a number at years he organised the middle school X periods and sixth form subsidiary subjects, and ran the School tennis club. Roger's most enduring achievement at Haberdashers' has been in the Careers Department which he took over in 1966 and led for sixteen years. In that time he transferred it from the periphery of school life to the central position it occupies today.

Above all this, Roger is a schoolmaster who has communicated clearly and incisively to generations of young physicists his deep knowledge and love of his subject and, particularly, its practical applications. He has a keen intellect and a clarity of thought and expression that make him formidable and even feared. He always set the highest standards both for himself and for others but for those who penetrate the hard outer shell there is warmth and wisdom: I have found it a pleasure and privilege to work with him.

We are fortunate that Roger is to continue as the School's Industrial Fellow, fostering the link between education and industry that has always been his special interest. However, retirement will allow him more time to devote to his family, his music and his garden.

(Roger continued at school in a part-time capacity as Industrial Fellow until 2000)


Stephen Wilkins

This summer Stephen Wilkins retires as Head of Drama at Haberdashers' after twenty-seven years - a statistic which can only hint at the scale of the contribution he has made to the public life of the School and the enormous influence he has had personally on the lives of so many boys (and girls) at Elstree in that time.

As well as ultimately overseeing over ninety school plays at Haberdashers', he has also directed every senior play since his arrival - creating productions which will be remembered as much for their diversity as for their consistently high standards. To students and staff alike he's the man with the big hair; the big grin; the unmistakable quirky handwriting; and the 'refreshing direct' statements. Sometimes his deep booming voice can stop a first year wrestling match at twenty paces; at other times his almost whispered speech can force a pin drop silence in the ham-like acoustic of the Bourne Hall.

His awe-inspiring knowledge of the mysteries of the fly-tower and the trap-door; of the cultivation of cabbages and broad beans; of the Old Vic, the Royal Court and the Theatre de Complicite~; of the private life of chickens and the difficulties of keeping geese next to a railway line - all have served to make him a unique and perhaps daunting figure. But for those students to whom Mr Wilkins became 'Steve' - master in charge of blindfolding, of walking around invisible walls and relaxing until "perhaps you can hear your own blood", a man more open, more sensitive and more giving of himself would be difficult to find.

Prior to what was apparently a rather casual appointment to teach 'a bit of English' and to 'do some plays' at Haberdashers', he taught at Epsom College after graduating from Oxford. However, it was his time spent as a stage carpenter with the University Dramatic Society, rather than his degree in French and German, which prepared him to become such an extraordinarily practical and inspired facilitator of school drama. What one saw from the auditorium during a performance, however, was nothing to the experience gained by those actually involved in a production, an experience for many boys which was undoubtedly their most memorable and perhaps their most important during their time at school.

During rehearsals young actors were made to feel as if they were embarking on a great journey of exploration and, like the very best directors, he's not marching out in front carrying a furled umbrella that you're struggling to keep up with, but behind you, carrying an enormous trunk of things that you may need but which you would never have thought of packing for yourself.

People always speak of the high standard of drama at Haberdashers'. That is a response to the extraordinary conviction displayed by actors in his productions which comes from being given the confidence, the freedom and the discipline to 'discover' your role for yourself rather than having it imposed.

The School is losing what might be called 'an institution' ... we hope that General Studies Yoga may yet continue, but the sight of Stephen benignly cross-legged in the middle of the Staff Room floor during Headmaster's Notice every Friday will now be just a memory. No more will lunchtimes seem as hypnotic while colleagues wait patiently for his careful ritual of fruit peeling and slicing to end (no one else could take so long to eat an apple!).

He is an extraordinary teacher, director, designer, colleague, mentor, assistant and friend. We shall miss him but we all wish him a long, happy and thoroughly deserved retirement with his wife Claire.


Beryl Mansbridge

Beryl served as school librarian for four and a half years. Very committed and up to date in her professionalism, she worked with self-effacing loyalty to ensure that the library was in the forefront of progress.

It was always her prime concern to be of effective service to her readers. There may never have been a time when the thirst for information has been greater, when sources of information have been more numerous and bewildering, and Beryl managed this situation with great ability, making good facilities available while equipping boys and teachers with the skills necessary for their proper use.

She was also dedicated to encouraging boys to have adventures of the imagination, to discover new authors, new titles, new styles of writing. Some two hundred boys can pass through the library in a lunch hour, and the spectacle of this hive of happy activity serves as a true indication of the welcoming and efficient atmosphere of this central part of school life.

We thank Beryl for doing so much to make the school library what it is and for being so pleasant and helpful to us all, and we wish her and her husband, Michael, a long and happy retirement in the Lake District.


Caroline Wakely

Caroline had an early taste of Hertfordshire. She was educated at Queenswood School, Hatfield, and then at Trinity College, Dublin, where she obtained her M.A. in English, continuing her studies at Oxford University Department of Education. She taught English at Edgbaston High School, Birmingham, and then English, History and Mathematics in the Preparatory Department of the City of London Freemen's School.

When she left teaching to raise her four children, she filled those spare hours with a wealth of voluntary work. She founded and ran the Radlett Childrens' Book Group for ten years, served on local library committees, taught in the Sunday School at Aldenham Church and was both Guide Instructor and Brownie Examiner in the local Guide Association.

She returned to teaching on a part-time basis, lending her expertise to help many primary schools choose their library stock. She came to Haberdashers' as a supply teacher for two terms, and was asked to stay.

Caroline has taught History, English and French in the Preparatory School since 1988. She has also enormously enlarged and enriched the Prep. Library, continuing the excellent work started there by Jane Gallimore.

Her unflagging energy and enthusiasm have for a long time been an example to all in the Prep. Dept. She exudes a great love for this school and holds very dear its traditions and values. Her loyalty will in no way diminish as she leaves us and future generations of Haberdashers will still be inspired by Caroline's imagination and opinion, albeit from the depths of rural Radlett!

A lady of the highest standards, she has always wished above all to instil such standards in those she taught, believing that the pursuit of excellence, in whatever field, will lead boys to appreciate good order in all things. She remains passionate about reading and the use of the English language and cannot stand silently by if she sees its good practice being eroded.

Caroline's love of literature is apparent even to those whose knowledge of her is slight - she lives and breathes it. The work she has done to enlarge the Prep. Library cannot be measured. Her delight in procuring for the library shelves the best in children's literature and the most attractive and informative of non-fiction is obvious and infectious.

No boy who has passed through P7 or P8 will have forgotten his field trip to Preston Montford. The rigours and rewards of this week are indelible. Caroline has played a major part in this trip for eleven years and much of its success is due to the thoroughness of its organisation.

Caroline has endeared herself to many by her ability to laugh at herself. She describes herself on some days as the Red Queen, always running and running and seeming to stay in the same place. On others she is the White Queen, untidy, safety-pinned and anxious! On all days she is a lady of great charisma, character and culture, and she leaves a hole - suitably ballista sized - in the Prep. school.

Our very good wishes go to her, and to Roger and their children of whom she is so proud.


Denis Goddard

Dennis retired at Christmas after over sixteen years as Medical Officer to the School. His presence here has been such a source of comfort, advice and reassurance to so many pupils. He and his wife, Ann, have always been great supporters of school plays and concerts. His background ensured that his knowledge and advice about cricket and rugby was often sought and in many instances strictly adhered to.


Derrick Swann

Derrick Swann arrived at Haberdashers' Aske's School in 1968, and has thus completed thirty years' continuous service here. Before arriving here, he taught Biology for eight years at Welwyn Garden City Grammar School.

Derrick has a deep and abiding interest in the natural world, possibly a result of his rural childhood in Suffolk; and he has introduced many an urbanite pupil to the delights of bird-watching and flower appreciation, both within the School's grounds and as part of the many field trips and courses he has been responsible for organising. Generations of Sixth Form Biologists have measured their lengths in estuarine mud, whilst obeying his orders.

Derrick's long service to the Biology Department and School has meant that he has had the pleasure (?) of teaching the children of some of his former pupils! He is worried that staying might involve teaching their grandchildren... Over the years, he has helped to develop the Biology Department from a 'quiet backwater' with three teachers, to a busy one with five full-time teachers plus two part-timers; and we are delighted that Derrick has agreed to continue to help the department, in a part-time capacity, in the coming academic year.

His philosophy of teaching is student-centred and he has been keen to get his students to understand the subject, rather than simply note-learning; he has been equally popular with the most junior and most senior pupils. He has also been adventurous, combining the best classical teaching techniques with some of the newest; he is one of the first to try out each new technical aid as it is introduced to the department, including computers. He combines a love and enthusiasm for the subject he teaches with a lively sense of what it takes to be a professional schoolmaster.

He is a keen and able tennis player, playing club tennis outside school and running the School team for the past thirty years, notching up some remarkable successes. The frustrations of getting the team together during the hot summer term have not made him a bitter man!

Derrick has a dry, yet wicked, sense of humour, and we are glad that he is not retiring completely; he is still needed for wise counsel and for the odd good laugh.


Eric Berger

At a recent parents' evening a formidable Haberdasher's parent put Eric Berger on the spot: "Chronologically Mr Berger", she declared, "you are my son's oldest teacher but you are young at heart and Alex has benefited enormously from your teaching. You must teach him next year". Alas, Alex will be disappointed (as indeed are his colleagues), for Eric is to retire after ten years quite exceptional service to the School.

Many teachers sample life in the real world before turning to teaching but Eric Berger is unusual in joining the profession after a long and distinguished career as a Chemical Engineer. He was born and raised in Manchester and studied Chemistry at King's College, London. After graduating, he took a one year chemical engineering course (this was long ago and before the days when specialist degrees were the normal route into the profession) and during the quarter of a century that followed he worked as an engineer both at home and abroad.

In 1986, Eric's employers (a large American owned multinational) wished to relocate him. Faced with the choice between Belgium and teaching, Eric had no hesitation. The engineering world had lingering regrets and, during his first two or three years at Haberdashers' (fully five years into his teaching career), Eric received tempting offers to return. He dismissed them emphatically: "It's out of the question. I have a new job: it's double the work for half the money":
Eric proved a natural in the classroom: a calm, authoritative presence with a wry sense of humour, who leavened his deep knowledge of the subject with references to his engineering experience. He aimed always to encourage boys to think for themselves and to understand the excitement involved in the development of new ideas in science and technology. Some boys clung to their utilitarian notions of study but he inspired others to see science in a new light.
Eric's industrial experience led him inevitably into the Careers Department, first taking charge of the aspiring engineers and, over the last two years, advising prospective medical students. These are substantial responsibilities: tact, patience and stamina, in addition to technical knowledge, are needed to supervise as many as thirty-five university applications and conduct twenty-five careers interviews for fifth formers all in the course of about three months. Successive generations of boys owe a debt of gratitude to Eric for his wise counsel and quiet support.
Eric Berger has a passionate love of literature and music. He is a gifted writer who has had one novel published and a play broadcast on television; teaching has curtailed his creative writing but he has been pressed into service to write the reviews for plays and concerts. He has a writer's eye (and ear) for detail and dialogue and has found Haberdashers' a rich source of material. He quickly captured the authentic voice of the School with characters like the first form boy lisping worriedly about entropy ("It expands, Sir; all the time!") and the prospective pilot who felt his poor examination results should not prevent a career in flying ("I always do badly in exams; I panic under pressure"). Perhaps in future we can look forward to a book on Haberdashers' written from the staff viewpoint to redress the balance of recent publications by former pupils.

Eric devotes much of his time to music. He is not a performer but a keen concert goer and opera buff; each year he travels to the Salzburg Festival and he has been on one pilgrimage to Bayreuth. His love of music has found expression through his General Studies teaching and his popular courses on opera and jazz have been genuinely educational, opening the eyes of some boys to possibilities that will give them a lifetime of pleasure.

Eric was Chairman of the Common Room for two years. He was a forthright supporter of traditional values and courtesy and openness among members of the School. He championed the views of the staff with wit and style, transforming the Friday morning staff notices into one of the major attractions of the week. His hard work helped to reinvigorate the flagging social traditions of the Common Room summer party.

Above all this, Eric has been a first rate colleague. He is reliable, supportive and uncomplaining and able to diffuse difficult situations by a deft touch of humour; a consummate professional on whom one could depend completely. He has a gift of friendship and will, no doubt, keep contact with the School through the many close friends he has made at Haberdashers'.

We wish Eric and his charming wife, Daisy, a long, happy and musical retirement. 


John Ayres

John had been Head Groundsman here for 13 years when he retired at Easter. John worked with remarkable dedication and professionalism to maintain the School grounds at the very highest standards.


John Carleton

The retirement of John Carleton marks the end of an era for the Haberdashers' Aske's School, since he is the last serving teacher who taught in the School whilst it was still in West Hampstead and who moved with the entire establishment to the Elstree site in 1961. For the rest of us, the Haberdashers' Aske's School, Elstree is the only one that we have known and for all but a handful, there have always been the two schools here - the Boys' and the Girls' school - side by side. Over four decades both schools have grown and prospered. Staff have come and gone, Headmasters and Headmistresses have changed and thousands of boys and girls have arrived, studied (a little), flourished (a lot) and moved on; but a thread of continuity, an awareness of place, a sense of purpose and tradition has been maintained by teachers like John, whose entire career has been devoted to this School. How did this all begin?

Appointed to the School in 1960, John quickly established himself as a superb teacher of chemistry. His knowledge of his subject and his enthusiasm for it are second-to-none. If passion for one's subject is the mark of a first-rate teacher then John is just such a person. It is this above all else that makes him such an outstanding classroom practitioner, earning the respect of the boys and such high esteem amongst his colleagues in the department. Whether teasing out greater understanding from an 'A'-level student or coaxing the best from a reluctant fifth former, John will always make time for an individual pupil. No opportunity to talk chemistry is missed, be it in the classroom, in the office or over lunch and John has that instinctive ability to pitch the discussion at just the right level for the person he is talking to. As a young teacher joining the staff, I (and many others like me), have benefited enormously from John's wisdom, support and guidance.

To return to my chronicle, promotion first came in 1966, following the tragic death of Roger Dawtry, then the Head of Science and Chemistry, who drowned whilst on a family holiday. John Bausor, the Head of Physics, became Head of Science and John was asked by Tom Taylor to take over as Head of Chemistry. It was a particularly demanding time. The circumstances of the appointment were difficult enough but in the same year, John and Janet were expecting the arrival of their first child, Andrew, and John was fully involved as School Liaison Manager with the contractors who were constructing the new Phase II building. Since it was to be the new science block, John was also responsible for all of its fitting-out and equipping.

Further promotion followed in 1970, when John Bausor was seconded to work on the development of the science curriculum. John became acting Head of Science and, in 1972, when John Bausor was appointed to the London Inspectorate for Schools, John was confirmed in this post. Under his tutelage, science in the School flourished with John, as always, leading from the front, yet never imposing and constantly encouraging the development of new ideas and the adoption of new methods. He ran the Science Sixth and was form teacher for a number of outstandingly good 6S Science groups until the end of the 7th term entry to Oxford and Cambridge.

Running the Science Department did not stop John from assisting John Welbourne with the organisation and administration of public examinations, nor of establishing, with David Griffiths, the course on Personal Relations that is now incorporated into our P.S.R.E. programme. John was Common Room Secretary 1968/9 and Chairman of the Common Room 1971/2. He was responsible for up-dating the Common Room constitution and he was the representative on the working party established by the Governors to steer the School through the transition from direct grant to independent status in 1976. He played no small part in ensuring that this took place without disturbance or disruption to the education of the boys in the School at the time.

In 1982, W.F. "Dai" Barling retired as Second Master and John was appointed in his place. He was Bruce McGowan's right-hand man for five years, and, in 1985, when Bruce's duties as Chairman of H.M.C. frequently took him away, John was effectively running the School. Bruce retired in 1987 to be succeeded by Keith Dawson, who, despite having previously been Head of History at the School, benefited enormously from John's support, knowledge and friendship. John's fourth Headmaster, Jeremy Goulding, arrived in 1996.

John has been a Second Master of unsurpassed quality. He has been unshaking in his desire to see the School maintain its position amongst the top ten schools in the country and has worked unswervingly to sustain the highest standards of personal behaviour in the boys and professionalism in the staff. Whilst society at large seems to be succumbing to a general "dumbing-down" John has been determined to see that this makes as few inroads as possible on standards in the School.

Administrative ability is another of John's strengths. The routine life of the School runs like a well-oiled machine (John is also a 'mean' motor mechanic). Few of us are aware of the care, the balance, the extensive consultation and the attention to detail that goes into the production of all the calendars, rotas and schedules that are always ready on time. But we do recognise, on those big public occasions, how John's thoroughness, common sense, energy and awareness of protocol, ensure that all runs smoothly whether it be a Royal visit, a Festival Hall concert or a service for two thousand in St Paul's Cathedral.

Outside school, John has been a long-serving member of the Association for Science Education's safety committee and has been involved in a large number of their publications, which establish the ground rules for science departments across the country. This does mean that many safety inspectors, architects, subject advisors or other "experts" have discovered to their cost that they had better know what they are talking about if they try to impose their ideas about how a laboratory or a science department should be run.

Whilst chemistry may be his first love, John is also extremely knowledgeable about classical music and he and Janet are season ticket holders to concerts at the Festival Hall and the Barbican. They are also both francophiles, with extensive knowledge of the country, its people and its fine food and wines. Self-taught, John is also one of the School's I.T. experts, learning to use Microsoft Access in order to produce a relational database for handling all the work placements. Sceptical of the use of technology for its own sake, John can nonetheless extract the best from the new technologies and perhaps will now have more time to evaluate the merits of surfing the Internet.

A dedicated family man, John sees the whole school as a family too, making no distinction between teaching and non-teaching staff. He knows everyone on campus, cares greatly for all, goes out of his way to help in times of trouble and always seems to find the appropriate word to praise, to encourage, to console and to thank. Many colleagues have benefited from his advice, not least on matters financial - his command of the detail of the Teachers' Superannuation Scheme is encyclopaedic. His departure will leave a huge void that will be extremely hard to fill. We shall miss him for his wisdom, his humour, his incomparable knowledge and, above all, for his humanity. We wish John and Janet a long and happy retirement together, knowing they will enjoy more time for travelling and for being grandparents.


Keith Talbot

It is difficult to imagine the School without Keith Talbot, who has retired from the P.E. Department after thirty years' service. Keith is that precious commodity, the passionately committed, endlessly enthusiastic idealist: the passion and the enthusiasm are mainly devoted to hockey, of course, but Keith loves the School as a whole, rhapsodising over a play, a jazz concert, a cricket match, an exhibition - anything which shows the School in its best light. No one who has heard his exhortation of a listless P.E. class to greater and more wholehearted endeavour could ever doubt his fervent belief in the School and its success.

Keith - a keen supporter of Stoke City F.C. - was brought up in the Potteries and completed his education at Loughborough. Although most of his teaching career has been spent at Haberdashers', his hockey expertise has brought him honours and commitments outside the School: he has played for England Schoolmasters and North Wales, was Chief Coach to the East of England Juniors for two years and has been a loyal, long-serving member of St. Albans Hockey Club. During his sabbatical tour of India in 1992, Keith appeared on national television, trekked in the Himalayas, and worked with the newly-formed Indian Hockey Academy to develop more effective training techniques. Keith loved it all, responding to the friendliness he was shown with his own warmth and enthusiasm. (A fuller account of Keith's 'Passage to India' appeared in 'Skylark 1993').

Keith's travels also included several Far East sports tours, where again he always entered fully into the spirit of things - on one occasion conducting the Habs boys in impromptu choral renderings in the middle of Nathan Road, Singapore, to the delight of watching hundreds - perhaps thousands...

Earlier this year, 150 friends and Old Boys packed the Bourne Hall for a special 'Keith Talbot Retirement Dinner', preceded by three games of hockey on the Astroturf, the whole splendid affair organised by Doug Yeabsley. The enormous respect and affection in which Keith is held by generations of Haberdashers' dominated the occasion: fond memories included references to Talbie's cricket umpiring ('giving Aldenham batsman out lbw for having dyed hair...'), his hockey decisions ('giving Habs another dubious short corner when the team was struggling'), and quite simply, 'thank you for everything you did for me at school'. An old boy unable to attend confessed as follows, suggesting that he learnt more from Talbie than from his English teachers: 'I would also like to apologise for any indiscretions I may have been responsible for while under his tutorledge'.

We should not forget the remarkable contribution made by Keith to the R.A.F. section. Impulsive and emotional he may be, but Keith's organisational ability is shown by his having devised and implemented the Leadership Course for R.A.F. Training Camps, where he has vast experience as Station Commander. Keith's values are traditional - discipline tempered by humour and humanity - and these qualities can be seen at a glance on any Friday afternoon, when he looks every inch the Squadron Leader, immaculately turned out.

In recent years, Keith was proud to be associated with the new Astroturf hockey pitch, even if it distresses him to see the sacred plastic being trodden for other, less significant sports. The pitch remains as a fitting testament to his dedicated service to the sport and to the School.

Now he contemplates retirement. There may be talk of a Highland retreat, but my guess is that he will not be able to leave us, and that he will build and live in a log cabin by the Astroturf (he once told me he would), so that he can keep an eye on the games and call out his 'advice' in the unmistakable tones of the man who is Habs hockey. 


Dr Michael Levin

Michael Levin has given 25 years of loyal service to Haberdashers' after some years in industry with the Coal Board. He is an Old Haberdasher educated at Westbere Road.

Michael has taught physics throughout the School and for a number of years he has taught junior chemistry. He has been a member of the careers team for 11 years specialising in applications to medical schools.

For more than a decade Michael was responsible for chess at the School with its regular away matches often running late into the evening, particularly as the School teams progressed to many National Finals. This was no small commitment.

Michael has been more than a valued colleague. It is a great help to a head of department to have someone logisant enough to teach a set of any standard or character, and flexible enough to be a reference source for awkward questions.

We hope Hennie and he enjoy many years of active retirement.


Michael McLaughlin

Michael joined the Maths Department 21 years ago. For some years, Michael was Housemaster of Meadows. Many Old Haberdashers will remember his advice and counselling with respect and devotion. Following on from the character of Eric Carrington was not easy but Michael quickly stamped his own personality on the job and he was seen to be a sincere, modest and hard-working man.

He ran the Aeromodelling Club but his main extracurricular gift has been to the Electronics Society. As a School and Community Service activity, he has taken hundreds of boys to visit patients at Harperbury Hospital. In computing and mathematics teaching, Michael has been an inveterate hard worker. He has encouraged staff to try different approaches to the subject and always with his delightful sense of humour.

We wish him and his wife ever happiness in retirement.


Mike Jeans

The close of the 1996-7 academic year marks the close of the six-year period during which Mr Michael Jeans has been Chairman of the Boys' School Committee of the Governing Body. Mike has been a Governor of the Boys' School for ten years in all, and now retires from this particular office.

The role of Governor is far from easy: most Governors, as is the case with Mike, are sustaining an intensely busy schedule in their own professional lives. They need to keep in touch with the School in order to understand and to govern effectively, then again, they do not wish to be so closely involved as to appear to be untrusting. Mike has always struck precisely the right balance, has made many close friends among all areas of the Boys' School staff, and, quite apart from his personal responsibilities in governance, has always been a source of wise counsel and helpful advice. His unwavering commitment to the best interests of the School has been widely recognised:

We all hope very much that he, Paula and his family will continue frequently to be our guests at plays, concerts and other School occasions in the years ahead.


Pam Bryant

Pam Bryant has retired having served this School since 1974 and after seven years as Head of the Preparatory School. Pam has taught all classes and all subjects from football to sex education and was appointed the first Deputy Head in 1985, being indispensable to Basil Flashman.

Pam will be remembered for her warmth and understanding of all her pupils and staff alike. This has fostered a community and sense of common purpose envied by many schools. Her energy has not been confined to the Prep. She has been heavily involved in school plays, modern languages trips, art trips, National Youth music and accompanied the Senior Brass Group to Australia.

We wish her every happiness in her retirement, she possesses an abundance of energy to do so.


Alan Taylor MBE

Alan Taylor retires at the end of the Summer Term after 35 years of distinguished service at Haberdashers'. He came to the School, then at Hampstead, appointed by Dr. Tom Taylor, whose widow Margaret remembers the early days of music at Haberdashers'.

"When we came to the school at Westbere Road in 1946 there was virtually no music; apparently the Latin master taught singing twice a week and there was an annual tradition of Gilbert and Sullivan. Eventually a music department developed under Dr. Eric McLellan with visiting teachers from the Royal Academy of Music. With the sudden illness of Dr. McLellan in 1962 Alan became a youthful Head of the Music Department.

The School's move to Elstree gave a tremendous push forwards, as the fine assembly hall with specialist lighting and acoustics could house a large choir and orchestra and the governors, parents and friends really appreciated the wider repertoire for music and drama. Alan and his staff could try out more challenging scores. The last Spring Concert was a wonderful tribute to so many orchestras, such a wide combination of instruments and voices, such enthusiasm and the enjoyment was obvious to the audience under the baton of Alan."

Alan was appointed an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in 1964 and Ronald Smith, formerly Chief Executive of the Board, has this to say of Alan's work:

"I can vouch that Alan's examining has always been as we would have wished it, competent, fair and efficient, and his file is typical of such a person-it is one of the thinnest in the filing cupboard. For some one who has been an examiner for 32 years this is an achievement in itself! He was my first choice for someone from the Independent School's, sector on the Board's Consultative Committee when it was formed in 1983."

A significant event in Alan Taylor's final year was a concert at Haberdashers Hall before an invited audience. Alan introduced the evening as well as directing the Senior Brass and Aske's Singers in an event which embraced a wide variety of musical styles. Appropriately, the final item was Wesley Woodage's arrangement of "Sunset" played by the Senior Brass. (Wesley was a well-loved and respected teacher of the trumpet who died in 1979). The Master of the Company, Mr Peter Bedford, in his appreciation of the concert which he called a "Taylor Vintage", made a presentation to Alan to commemorate the awesome and inspiring contribution Alan had made to the musical life of the School.

Paul Harris ('73), Head of Wing and Brass at Stowe School, clearly remembers the excitement and anticipation he felt sitting in the empty concert hall before the musicians' audience arrived. Having attended a good number of Alan's concerts since leaving, Paul says he "can still experience the buzz of exhilaration that Alan has the singular ability to create". Jon Bryant ('84) in responding to the invitation to sing at the final Spring Concert, writes: "You were always wonderfully supportive to me and my friends-not just in music. I hope I managed to repay some of your kindness and confidence you gave me by singing at your final concert".

Russell Jacobs ('78), has one son in the Prep. School already and another about to start in September. He is "confident that they will start as I did; namely with a great tradition behind them". He goes on to say "yours will be a difficult act to follow; no - an impossible one, judging by the look on those teachers', parents' and boys', faces tonight at the Spring Concert. But that does not matter, since the keystone, not the foundation stone, has been laid and in place for the past 35 years".

In November 1982 Alan's outstanding contribution to music and education was recognised in the bestowal of an M.B.E.

Finally, using Margaret Taylor's words: "May Alan's influence long continue. Thank you Alan for giving so much pleasure, such tingling-down the spine moments of sheer joy and uplift...”.


Antony Clark

A generation of schoolmasters, new to the profession when the school moved to Elstree, is now reaching retirement. Antony Clark spent the whole of his professional career at Haberdashers' and his contribution to the academic, sporting and social life of the School has been very substantial indeed. Like his contemporaries he has provided the continuity and sense of firm purpose on which the rising success and esteem of the School has been built.

Although Antony was first and foremost a Physics teacher, he also made major contributions to the teaching of Computer Studies from its earliest days and of electronics. He also taught Mathematics both to the junior sets and as a support subject in the Sixth Form. In the Physics Department, of which he was Head for twenty years, his detailed knowledge of syllabuses, his own love of the subject and particularly its applications, and his knowledge well beyond the demands of examinations contributed to the success of the department. His development of centralised and detailed timetabled coordination which this required enabled the department to run economically while freeing resources to provide the latest in equipment. His belief in the importance of practical work resulted in many worthwhile innovations such as Project Work, the Physics Workshops, the Physics Displays Showcase and the 'Capability for Engineering' scheme.

He also played a leading role in the development of computer-based experiments and simulations, publishing books and software and producing materials for one of the major suppliers of educational scientific equipment.

Antony also made major contributions to school life outside the classroom. He ran the U16 Rugby XV for a number of years and was also involved in cricket and athletics, but his most enduring contribution over many years was to the foundation training in Hockey. Antony started a very active Mountaineering Club and was involved with sailing for many years too. He ran clubs for junior boys making clocks and radios, and started "Scope", the School's annual scientific and technical journal.

Above all he was ever willing to find time to help any individual boy and to take endless care in choosing editors for "Scope", Science Society committee members, or team members for project work. Yet despite all these commitments he still found time to sing in the choir, build scenery for staff plays, act as secretary and as treasurer to the Common Room and co-ordinate the School Open Day.

Antony Clark has been a very good friend and colleague and a valued and respected teacher. We shall all miss his unflagging enthusiasm his serious concern about important issues and the joyful sound of a Brandenburg concerto being hummed as he went along the corridor.

We wish him, and his always supportive wife Anita, well for what will certainly be a busy and active retirement in the Cotswolds.


David Davies

David Davies has retired after thirty-seven years in the School: since 1968, upon succeeding his compatriot David Thomas in the position, he has been Head of the PE. Department.

The Staff Notes in 'Skylark' 1959 included the following entry: 'As assistant PT. instructor, we have gained the valued services of Mr D. E. Davies, who has been in charge of Physical Education at the Orange Hill School, and is an active member of the "Wasps" R. F. Club. Thus was the arrival announced of a teacher who was to become one of the School's longest-serving and most loyal servants. A man of natural charm and modesty, many of his achievements have gone almost unnoticed because of his hatred of self-promotion or publicity, and because he has always operated on the principle that his colleagues will display the same professional standards that he demands of himself; sport at Haberdashers' has always depended on the skilled and expert help of other academic staff as well as specialist P.E. teachers, and David has been willing at all times to allow a liberal autonomy to those ready to give up much of their spare time to running teams.

Shortly after his arrival at Haberdashers' David took charge of Athletics, and then in the autumn of 1965 he was appointed Master in charge of rugby, a post which he held until 1982. David's tenure coincided with one of the most successful eras in the School's rugby history, and of course that success was in large measure due to David's unflagging enthusiasm, skill and commitment. It is worth noting that the 1st XV remained unbeaten for an almost incredible sixty five games from October 1973 to December 1977. Perhaps a part of this success had to do with the rugby training camps which David led for many years in Snowdonia - Martin Baker (O.H.) recalls the legendary water fight of 1977 in the London School of Mountaineers' hut which culminated in David sealing victory by pouring gallons of water over the aforementioned.

It was also during these years that David organised the creation of the original 100 metre cinder track - no mean feat when one considers that it involved the demolition of a cottage and pond which stood in the way. John Welbourne and his intrepid C.C.F. pioneers blew up these obstacles, and David then arranged for himself and a team of staff and boys to lay the foundations using clinker obtained from the boilers of Edgware Hospital - an admirable example, surely, of recycling in an earlier age!

In September 1977 David Davies became Housemaster of the Boarding House and oversaw it until its closure in 1983. Many of his colleagues will remember with affection the warm and welcoming atmosphere which he and his wife Jean established there: Doug Yeabsley recollects the 'most fantastic chocolate cakes', and reckons the boys will not have forgotten them, either ... or the charms of the Davies' delightful daughters. It might have been an unrewarding time to be running the Boarding House, its closure looming and with all the awkwardness of looking after a group of boys for whom the school was not specifically geared, but, together with the marvellous help on offer from David and Flora Griffiths, they ensured that the House 'made a good end'.

It might be appropriate here to say something about the tact and sensitivity David has offered elsewhere, too - and all involved in the 1995-96 Far East Tour will pay tribute to the contribution David made to the happiness and smooth running of the trip, taking care to find appropriate opposition and always on hand to head off potential problems with individuals or logistics. Perhaps this very 'human' side of David is expressed also in his love of music - he has been a wonderfully loyal member of school audiences all through his time at Haberdashers'.

We shall be losing in David one of the pillars of the School which came to Elstree and was then built up to the height of success enjoyed today: such success would never have been possible without the shrewd appointments made by Tom Taylor, of which vintage David Davies must surely be one of the finest examples.

Let me end by quoting one of David's longest-serving colleagues: 'If I were ever stuck in the middle of nowhere and needed help, the person I'd ring would be David - he really is the kindest of men'.


David Griffiths

David Griffiths is a rarity: he is a man of clear principle who is also always a boon companion; a man earnestly concerned about issues and causes, whose company is consistently a delight. The last of his many 'A' Level classes described him as a loveable man and he is quite simply one of the nicest people at Elstree. His concern for others, his skill as a listener, his wise counsel and forbearing acceptance of human quirks and eccentricities have accompanied him through a wide range of academic and pastoral roles at Haberdashers'.

David cares about education and he cares about people, in both cases with a care which is one hundred per cent honest. He has always wanted his pupils to use their minds, to discover their own responses to ideas and to unlock their true potential. He has always tried to help boys to behave reasonably rather than unreasonably, constructively rather than destructively. He has willingly offered the hand of friendship to those in trouble in the hope that if they can get back on their feet, they will be able to stride forward.

A native of Cardiff, David read History at Queens College, Cambridge, after boarding school and two years in the R.A.F. He taught at Embley Park and was senior history master at Silcoates. Modern historians regard 1968 as a year of change, of incipient revolution, and it was in the autumn of that year that David joined Haberdashers' at the invitation of the then Headmaster, Dr Taylor and his dynamic Head of History, Keith Dawson. The width and depth of his vision and his interests were recognised early when he assumed responsibility for both Sixth-Form General Studies and the Special Service Unit (forerunner of School and Community Service): an appropriate dual role for such a passionate believer in good thinking and good action. He also coached a Rugby XV, was a sixth-form tutor and quickly established himself as an affable and respected member of the Common Room whose collegiality mattered so much to him.

In 1977 David became Head of History and also a Boarding House Master - again a brace of appointments marking his academic and pastoral gifts. As Head of Department for twelve years, David led and nurtured a happy team who enabled junior boys to enjoy their history and senior boys to proceed to prodigious success at the very highest levels including Oxbridge starred 'firsts'. Many young teachers were grateful for the genial encouragement of this self-effacing and (in those days) pipe-smoking mentor.

Always keen to give credit to others, David made a central contribution to considerable success. One particular moment was when a Cambridge candidate received a letter from the examiners saying that his essays in the entrance paper written as a Haberdashers' schoolboy would guarantee him a "first" if reproduced in his university "finals" three years later. The admiration and affection of past and present pupils and colleagues assumed tangible form in a very happy surprise dinner in David's honour in 1989, at which he himself made an unprepared but memorable and thoughtful speech.

Until 1983 David was also living in Aldenham House with his wonderful wife Flora and children John and Fay (then pupils at the two schools). When boarders had problems and parents were too far away, they did not turn to David in vain, and the Griffiths family flat was invariably a place of warmth and security. Indeed their flat served as a major centre of the School's social life. One happy memory is of Flora teaching a diffident young teacher to do an 'eightsome reel' before he went to a Scottish house party where a fellow guest would be a girl whom he hoped to know better. The reel was a success, the girl married him and their family is now a five some.

Aldenham House was also the setting for the residential holidays for mentally handicapped children which provided such golden memories for the generations of boy and girl helpers who participated in them. David was involved from the start and led the last three holidays: first up, last to bed, driving the minibus, organising musical activities, swimming and games.


Jim Corbett

This autumn Jim Corbett retires as Bursar after twenty years' service in the School - years which have seen extraordinary growth and development and in which he has played a central part. Bursars do not typically have a good press. They are often seen as remote figures who say "no" to teachers' schemes. We have been blessed with a Bursar whose predisposition has always been to say "yes", and our excellent buildings, beautiful grounds and well-developed services are in no small part due to his work.

Jim Corbett was born on a farm in New Zealand, a country for which he retains a strong affection and to which he returned for a short holiday in 1995 en route to the Australian Bursars' Conference in Adelaide. He came to England with his family at the age of eight and later attended a grammar school in Cheltenham. His first ambition had been to be a lawyer. He worked for a solicitor in Cheltenham for two years after leaving school but the salary, a princely sum of fifteen shillings a week, was less alluring than advertisements for the Royal Navy and in 1948 he joined the Navy as a writer in search of more personal freedom.

Jim greatly enjoyed twenty-two years of varied service in the Navy. Before being commissioned in 1957 he had served in Earl Mountbatten's personal office at the new N.A.T.O. headquarters in Malta. Later postings included Secretary to the Naval Officer i/c Malaysia during the war in Indonesia and at a Polaris Base in Scotland. He also enjoyed a strong connection with hockey, both playing and umpiring, and he was a Southern Counties and Combined Services umpire for some years.

The globe-trotting itch had ceased by 1969 when Jim left the Navy to work in industry, first with Colt Ventilation and then with I.B.M. as a financial manager near Winchester. Probably his most significant career move came four years later when he was appointed Bursar at Shiplake College, a smallish and very attractive independent school near Henley. Here he cut his teeth as a Bursar and eventually moved to Haberdashers' in 1976.

Academically the School at that time was in many ways much as it is today; physically it was less recognisable. Financial constraints imposed by the Direct Grant system made building development and even major maintenance very difficult; facilities were far more limited than they are today. Jim Corbett's predecessor, John Burroughs, was a former colonial administrator from Kenya whose job necessarily was to maintain a steady state and who kept regular hours, unlike Jim, whose light is often burning at 7.00 or 8.00 at night and at weekends.

For Jim the last twenty years have passed in a flurry of busy activity and he says that he has enjoyed almost every minute of it. His arrival followed shortly after that of the Girls' School and he has played his part in the gradual approchement of the two schools and the good co-operation that now exists between us. By developing a first-rate grounds team he has brought our beautiful grounds to their present fine condition and, less dramatically but equally essentially, he has ensured a very high level of care and maintenance of our premises, particularly the flimsy original Laingspan buildings which have long outlived their original life expectancy.

Of course, the last twenty years have seen a dramatic improvement in the extent and quality of our buildings and undoubtedly Jim Corbett's major interest and achievement has been the oversight of these changes including the establishment and development of the Bates Dining Hall, major refurbishment of the swimming pool, the new Preparatory School, the Design Centre in the old B.B.C. block, the Sports Hall and, more recently, the Bourne Building, the new Modern Languages Department where the Library used to be and the all-weather Pitch.

Despite his busy life in school, Jim has also become a major figure in the Independent Schools' Bursars' Association, serving on the National Committee, and organising their annual conference for the last twelve years. He is also very active with the Institute of Administration Management (Chairman 1983) and he is a voluntary counsellor for the Institute of Management.

In retirement he hopes to continue his contacts with I.S.B.A. and he will also serve as a governor of local schools including a large maintained school. He and Mrs Corbett plan to stay in Hatch End where they have many roots and good friends. We wish them both great happiness for many years to come.


Keith Dawson

Just as many class room teachers are tempted to adopt a protective persona, so many modern headmasters are tempted to present themselves less as men than as managers. As a former Haberdashers' teacher, Mr. Dawson faced both temptations. His Skylark interviewers noted that he “refused to be drawn into any comments about himself”(1996) and realised that “there was no doubting he was in control” (1990).

Born in 1937, Mr Dawson was a pupil at Nunthorpe School near York, read History at The Queen's College. Oxford, was awarded a Diploma in Education with Distinction, and in 1961 began to teach at llford County High School. He joined the Haberdashers' History Department in 1963, was made its Head in 1965, and in 1971 left to become Headmaster of John Mason School in Abingdon. By 1979 he was principal of Scarborough Sixth Form College, and by 1984 was principal of King James College in Henley, from where he returned to Haberdashers' as Headmaster in September 1987.

It was a potentially difficult position. After sixteen years significant changes had taken place, but twenty two of Mr. Dawson's former colleagues were still teaching at the School. He would have to establish a new working relationship with them and with the rest of the staff, if possible without prejudice to either group.

His friends stressed his humanity and his professionalism. During morning assembly he had read his mail on the stage, at lunch time he had eaten early to secure a place on the billiard table in the staff Common Room, and it was even rumoured that he had smoked and drank. He had been an inspiring History teacher, innovative yet a stickler for disciplined hard work from pupils and teachers alike. Outside the class room he had coached cricket and hockey, directed school plays, and starred in the legendary staff play, Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest".

All this augured well. Between being appointed in 1986 and taking up his position in 1987 Mr. Dawson visited Haberdashers' many times, sometimes formally interviewing Heads of Departments and Housemasters, and sometimes informally, meeting staff, pupils and parents. In September 1987 he quickly resumed his high level of activity and involvement. He spent hours on the touch-line and boundary, supporting players and their coaches and talking to parents. He attended almost every single performance of every play and concert, and visited rehearsals as well. Nor was his interest confined to events at Elstree, for he visited school parties elsewhere in the United Kingdom and on the Continent, often making long detours from his family holiday in order to do so.

In 1990 the School's Tercentenary year encapsulated many of Mr. Dawson's enthusiasms, a concert at the Royal Festival Hall, a Families' Art exhibition, a grand Sports Day, a special Charity Appeal, and a veritable feast of school music and drama - a junior entertainment, a School play, and a staff play - "Tartuffe" - in which he took part. Skylark applauded his "gem of a performance" as Monsieur Loyal.

Mr. Dawson had a particular interest in school music and drama, A cello player himself, he often invited pupils to repeat an evening "Music in Miniature" piece at a morning assembly. He ran a number of very successful "Young Professional” concerts on Sunday evenings, providing a venue for musicians, many of whom were former pupils, and raising money for charity. In 1996 he was to join Mr. Wilkins in producing the School play: Skylark recorded that they directed "with an exquisite eye for detail”

To encourage pupils to participate in and value cultural events, and school and community service occasions such as Mencap Funday and the Old Folks' Christmas party, he instituted "Honours Ties" and "Certificates of Merit", modelled on games colours but awarded for exceptional endeavour in areas of extra-curricular activity where awards had not previously been given.

Mr Dawson took an early decision to give a member of staff the task of co-ordinating European awareness throughout the School. Another innovation was to appoint a long-serving teacher to support parent social activities at the School and to liaise with former pupils. In 1992 he fostered the formation of a parents' social Committee to gain support for parents' activities and to help at School functions. In 1995 he became President of the Old Haberdashers' Association and worked to strengthen its links with the School, besides improving its somewhat precarious financial position.

Mr Dawson was aware of future difficulties facing Haberdashers'. He accepted that the 1961 buildings had been given a life span of only twenty five years, so needed refurbishing or replacing. He believed that educational needs in the twenty first century would centre on information retrieval from the printed word and electronic sources, He considered that each academic department needed its own dedicated and well equipped teaching rooms. Thus with Mr. Dawson's vision, and the drive and energy of Mr. Gordon Bourne, the Chairman of the Governors, and the generosity of many donors to an appeal, work began on a major new building in July 1991. Many of us remember toasting Mr. Bourne as he coaxed a bulldozer into cutting the first piece of turf.

To the admiration and surprise of everyone in the School work progressed so well that the appropriately named Bourne Building was declared open by H.R.H. the Princess Margaret in October 1992. The complex houses a magnificent new School Library, a specialist Careers Library (partly financed by K.P.M.G.), an Information Technology Department, and (on the ground floor) the Classics and History Departments, plus a large foyer where pupils' creative work can be displayed. A kitchen and servery facilitate entertainment at concerts and plays held in the upgraded Hall.

Other developments followed in the wake of the Bourne. The former Library became the Modern Languages Centre, and was opened by Sir Leon (now Lord) Brittan, in 1994. English, Mathematics and Religious Studies were provided with fully self-contained teaching areas, and two Houses - Meadows and Hendersons - moved to newly-positioned House Rooms.

Mr Dawson appreciated the importance of the School's catering arrangements. He re--established a kitchen in Aldenham House and brought the old Refectory into use for evening dinners and meetings. Similarly, he re-established the practice of serving cricket teas in the pavilion, greatly enhancing the social side of matches. Early in 1995 Chartwells took over the administration and provision of catering, issued "smart" cards for use in the Bates Dining Hall and School shop and increased the variety of food and drink on offer, In March 1995 David Thomas (Head of Physical Education, 1948-1968) opened the Astro-Turf all weather playing surface, for hockey and soccer in winter and tennis in summer, perhaps it will eventually gain a pavilion of its own.

The academic curriculum was an area of actual difficulty. Haberdashers' had had essentially the same curriculum since 1961. It now had to cope with the demise of Oxbridge entrance examinations, the impact of G.C.S.E., and the introduction of a new pattern of Advanced level exams. To assess these developments Mr, Dawson set up his Renaissance Committee, a name which implied that Haberdashers' needed to undergo a revival of learning. Staff reaction was mixed. Some staff believed that his subsequent committees and working parties were devices to secure consent for his own views. Some that they provided an opportunity to push themselves and lobby for their own views.

Others feared the neglect of what they felt to be important issues and problems: appointment procedures, salary structures, teaching burdens, pupil numbers and quality, the rather uncoordinated rise of modular "A" levels, etc. After having been encouraged to discuss, a number of staff resented, as, they saw it, being excluded from decisions.

Comparatively few staff took the opportunity to discover what was going on in other class rooms and departments, or to reflect upon their own teaching methods and professional position.

Perhaps that was why Mr. Dawson eventually persuaded them to accept the Governors' decision to implement a form of appraisal, although not the variety which had aroused so much hostility in the state sector. Their reaction was equivocal. Those who saw appraisal as another chance to push and lobby eventually became frustrated. Those who suspected that the time involved would produce little of any consequence argued that institutionalised introspection might be a substitute for action. They believed that the sources of the staff’s dynamism and of the School's spirit were elsewhere.

In some respects a school exists independently of its headmaster. Pupil ability, ambition and energy have long created a common educational experience at Haberdashers'. Much of the School's depth and richness is provided by concerts and plays, C.C.F. camps, sports tours and ski-trips, and by the multitude of clubs and societies, Some of them are semi-secret enclaves in which are forged bonds of friendship and loyalty, and occasionally enmity, hidden from other pupils. One wonders what Saul Barrington meant when he told 'Skylark' that the 1987-88 Cricket and Rugby tour to the Far East “Was all rather crazy and wild”.

However, pupils do change. For many years Haberdashers' had had a mixture of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants and Jews, with very small minorities of Roman Catholics and boys of oriental background. In Mr. Dawson's time the School's ethnic and religious diversity broadened, pupils of Asian origin accounting for approaching one third of the School community. He responded by instituting a range of religious assemblies on Thursday mornings, and it may be that they have contributed to a greater awareness of cultural and social individuality amongst the pupils.

Long-serving teachers provide a School with educational and personal continuity, but teachers also change. In the words of the once well-known hymn “Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away.” In 1988 Leo Guidon and Barry Goater, in 1989 Basil Flashman, in 1994 Keith Cheyney, Roger Wakely and Mike Anderson, and in 1995 John Rolfe each retired from full time duties, in every case after working for over thirty years at Haberdashers'. To commemorate their outstanding contribution to the School Mr. Dawson founded "The Termites", a dining club for those who had served for at least one hundred terms. To make it easier to fill their places he had several bed-sits and flats installed in Aldenham House, and made available to new teachers.

Headmasters, pupils and teachers have different roles and responsibilities, so do not always see eye to eye. Occasionally teachers did wonder if Mr. Dawson related to them as a man or a manager, if they detected an impatient stare, or if he was too deeply wedded to the personal and professional attitudes and friendships which he had formed during his first period at Haberdashers'. Occasionally, too, they noticed a dichotomy between their view of the Headmaster and the pupils' view: whereas they felt him inclined to give pupils the benefit of the doubt, some pupils felt that their teachers' intercession was necessary to protect them from his justice.

During Mr. Dawson's final year it became clear that he regarded his two periods at Haberdashers' as the high points of his career. For all the tribulations which it was capable of causing, he loved the School. He had vastly improved its many facilities. He had proved to be a man of warmth and compassion, always willing to see good in others, and agonised over difficult decisions lest a wrong one be made. He had rendered to no one evil for evil. He had been well-supported by his wife, Marjorie, and together they had extended the hospitality of the Headmaster's house to staff, pupils and visitors to Haberdashers'. They had confirmed the School's reputation as an educational, a cultural and a pastoral community, one in which staff and pupils could develop and flourish, the latter whilst preparing to enter the wider world.

When Mr. Dawson retired at the end of the Summer Term 1996, Haberdashers' saw the departure of a distinguished generation: the Headmaster himself, David Davies (1959), Antony Clark (1960), Alan Taylor (1961) and David Griffiths (1968). The 1960s were finally over at Haberdashers'. What would the future bring?



Ken Jerred


Ruth Jerred


Tom Morse


John Rolfe

John arrived at the Haberdashers' Aske's, Hampstead School in September 1959 via Tiffin School in Kingston-on-Thames and Southampton University. It was a year of great anticipation since Aldenham House and its one hundred acre site had already been purchased and most people were looking forward to moving from old but characterful buildings in Westbere Road and far off playing fields in Flower Lane, Mill Hill, to the School's new site.

Planning ahead was everything. Dr. Tom Taylor's vision of transforming a large London direct-grant day school into what it is today took skill. Two years after Colonel Bull had laid the foundation stone a newly acquired lorry transported the School's equipment to Elstree, often from under the very noses of pupils and staff valiantly trying to Learn and teach as usual.

One of the innovations which the School was to introduce was providing a home for eighty boarders and John was appointed as an assistant to David Thomas, the first resident housemaster. Concurrently, Dr Taylor realised that the parents were anxious about the prospect of travelling into the Hertfordshire countryside each day. He made light of that, declaring that boys would in fact find it took the same time, if not less, if they were picked up by coaches at the four nearest railway stations. Being a geographer who was supposed by then to know every street in North London, John was given the task of organising the coach service.

The Elstree site duly came on stream in September 1961, Assembly being held in the playground for the first three weeks until the Hall was completed. Aldenham House provided home for John and his wife, Margaret, who soon found her own role as Headmaster's Secretary.

Given John's experience in the University Air Squadron he was keen to assist Dick Hewson in starting Arduous Training camps in the C.C.F. Memorable expeditions to North Wales and Norway followed. In those formative years Haberdashers' expanded from 856 to 1300 pupils and took advantage of the direct grant system and Oxbridge Scholarships to become one of the leading academic schools in the country.

In the mid-sixties, the Geography Department was bursting at the seams in the old house rooms and was eventually allowed to move into half of the upper floor of the old BBC building, the rest of which housed the entire Preparatory School. By that time John had Dick Hewson as Head of Department. Happily the Phase IT extension of the science lecture theatre and Physics extension included a new Geography department. At the time it was considered one of the finest in the country and even boasted one of the original one-hour video tape recorders.

A grateful parent of a 6th former who won an Open Scholarship to Cambridge donated a state of the art desk-top mains powered calculator to the department to assist its endless number crunching - at the time its ability to subtract figures to four decimal places without making mistakes was met with amazement.

In Geography, the subject saw the first great change in its approach -a mathematical one - which took over from the traditional region by region approach. The department attracted forward thinking teachers and by the end of the decade John had toured the United States to study their High Schools Geography Project and persuaded Oxford University Press to fund a British version. A gifted team in the department spent every available minute preparing the manuscripts of a new foundation course and this was published in 1972. No-one could have anticipated its effect on geography in British schools; it was even translated into Danish and its influence is still felt strongly today, despite the National Curriculum,

In 1976 John saw an opportunity to establish an exchange with a similar American school and with Bruce McGowan's help the annual visit to Montclair was started. Nearly twenty years on, countless exchange partners and their parents retain links across the Atlantic.

In 1974 the Girls' School moved from Acton to Elstree and John was asked to combine the two schools.' coaches. An initial operation with four pick up points grew to one bringing 1700 pupils to school from over seventy locations - all part of the service today.

The sixties and seventies were active ones for John's involvement with the Geographical Association. He served for over twenty years on the Committee of its Secondary Schools Section, later as Chairman. Since then he has been able to spend a little more time with his family and developing his pursuits of gardening, travel and club photography.

Geography has always tried to keep abreast of new developments and today its meteosat satellite weather images are often taken for granted. What has been far more satisfying to John has been seeing the boys succeeding in national competitions, enabling them to travel to Seville, Hawaii and the World Geography Olympiad in Florida this year; a fitting culmination to a long and immensely satisfying stay at Haberdashers'. He will wind down over the next year or so contenting himself with his geographical puzzle of maintaining the school's "umbilical cord" between pupils' homes and school.

The reputation of the department as one where ideas were translated into texts and where new syllabuses were designed and tested led to the rapid promotion of its staff to H.M. Inspectorate and department heads, appointed by head teachers in the hope that some of the experience gained at Haberdashers' would benefit their own schools. The department was fortunate to forge strong links with Cambridge University postgraduate students, many of whom spent their teaching practice under John's guidance and were often subsequently appointed to the School.

It will be a hard act to follow John as Head of Geography Department for he ran the Department in a uniquely generous way which allowed every member of staff to thrive and grow as geographers and as complete contributors. He frequently praised but rarely criticised as he encouraged initiative and supported independence, both inside and outside of the department.


Stuart Moore

There can be few who have taught at Haberdashers' during the past twenty-one years who have been unaffected by the presence in the Common Room of Stuart Moore. A person of strong and at times passionate views. Stuart achieved the rare honour from his colleagues of being twice elected their Chairman. A position he assiduously used to ensure that the real interest of his fellow teachers were fully addressed by the Governors.

Stuart joined the School in 1974 after teaching at The British School in the Netherlands and graduating from Southampton, the university which in later years awarded him his Doctorate of Philosophy. He came to teaching late, having previously started on a career in architecture - a skill readily recognised by those who have studied his doodlings during history lectures. Indeed Stuart is particularly proud of his designing skills and looks fondly, when passing through, at the ticket office at Lewisham North which chef d'oeuvre he completed for British Rail during his previous career.

Stuart's talents are many. His skill in composing after dinner speeches - usually on the back of a paper napkin - is renowned and remarkable. I was privileged years ago to see this literary inventiveness develop when I was shown a fat file of letters from him to his bankers - Coutts of course - in which his impecuniousness (weren't we all poor once?) was explained in terms of baroque mystification, preposterous fantasy and craven indulgence. To arrange for the publication of these hilarious belles-lettres under a suitable pseudonym should be his first task in retirement.

Stuart shows he is man of parts by the way he dresses. His appearance in the department on a Friday in moss coloured tweeds and brown brogues would signal a hunting weekend in the country. But whether clad in this, his 'ratting gear' as we somewhat disrespectfully called it, or in his ceremonial officer's uniform with swagger stick and shiny brass to the fore, Stuart knew how to play the part to perfection, while in black tie or full-fig he could grace an Oxbridge high table with speeches of devastating wit and a rate of repartee that was... well, the cognoscenti would say, 'ineffable'.

Then there is Doctor Moore of Utrecht, whose lengthy researches in the Low Countries and in the rarefied atmosphere of the institute of Historical Research formed such a happy chapter in his career. His findings on the Chapter of Utrecht Cathedral have indeed enlightened those of us devoid of such arcane knowledge hitherto. Clearly this week left its mark on Stuart literally as his tonsorial hairstyle of late testifies.

Tirne and space limit what one would really like to say about the many facets of Stuart's persona. His generosity as party host, ably assisted by his squad of T-shirted waiters, is renowned. Though a bon-viveur and a superb cook to boot, Stuart has nonetheless been prepared at camp to use his skills and secret ingredients to form the most ordinary Potage Compo into a dish fit for the gods. And there have been many field days, camps and sailing expeditions at which he has assisted, but at none perhaps did be show more flair and imagination than on the occasion of a race day off the shores of Holland when, because of a shortage of flags, Stuart, as Race Officer, resorted to holding aloft a broom, thus recalling Tromp's passage up the Channel in 1652 with a broom at his mast showing he had swept the enemy from the seas.

Although at times Stuart could appear fierce in company, he was, and is, a very kind person. Several colleagues over the years who have suffered disappointments or sadness have been the surprised recipients of letters of condolence; others, at times of success, letters of warm congratulation. Similarly with his pupils, not all have flinched from his Olympian rebukes; some have parried them and others have relished his piercing wit for long afterwards. Thus Stuart retains the friendship of a large cohort of former pupils - clearly a tribute to a good schoolmaster. To Stuart and to his charming and forbearing wife Anne, we say good-bye and extend our sincere thanks and warmest good wishes for the future and for a long and happy retirement, Haberdashers' will be a less colourful place for his going.


Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson joined Haberdashers' staff straight from university in September 1960, "My intention had been to choose a small, state school, well away from London", The school at that time was still situated in Hampstead and Mike says his first impressions were very disheartening - "surrounded by pre-fabs and opposite a mainline station". Even after the move to Elstree he was still quite sure he would not stay more than a couple of years. Fate was to intervene, however, and the move away by the then Head of Department, John McNaire, meant that in January 1966 Mike became Head of Spanish and his position in the school was fixed. He recalls in characteristically humble fashion how he felt awkward at having in his department two leading hispanists (Leo Guidon - Head of Languages, and Jack Hurst - Head of French), It was indeed a very strong department that he led, and he remembers that in those early days when the post 'O' level choice of subjects was much more limited the majority of the boys in his 'A' level groups would obtain places at Oxford or Cambridge to continue their Spanish to degree level.

Running trips to Spain in those days was not like it is today when it can all be placed in the safe hands of the well-oiled machine of a school travel service with ABTA guarantees and local couriers. They had to run very much on personal initiative with ad-hoc travel and accommodation arrangements. More risk but more excitement perhaps. Memories still linger in the department of those early trips with Mike and Jack Hurst - train/boat/train, chaotic nights with uncomfortable couchettes on the 30 hour journey from Paris to the Costa Brava. Then hair raising adventures in Franco's Spain. Lost passports, lost boys, even lost staff brought nasty moments with the Civil Guard. Trips to the Costa Verde and later the Costa del Sol (visits to the specialist doctor for unusual rashes in Malaga) were risked and survived and enjoyed

In recent years Junior trips to Madrid and the cities of Southern Spain have been run and organised in the modern fashion with pre-planned itineraries and tighter controls, and have proved equally popular, but within Mike there remains a wistful regret for the passing of those earlier, hazardous journeys into the unknown. He is happy nonetheless that cooperation with the Girls' School has now brought in exchanges as the new order of the day, and the present link with a school in Madrid looks forward to a promising future for Spanish trips.

Throughout his career Mike has expressed frustration at the poor quality of Spanish course books. In fact he must be one of very few teachers who have taught their whole career without a text book. Initiative and innovative ideas for instilling the Spanish language into the heads and hearts of Haberdashers boys have been a hallmark of Mike's style He leaves behind him a great mass of material which will continue to be used by grateful successors for many years to come. But perhaps Mike was at his happiest when teaching Spanish literature to the 6th Forms. So many students have enjoyed his classes on Garcia Lorca, his intelligent and honest interpretations of the more obscure poems, and especially his presentation of Spanish Golden Age drama, a field in which he was most definitely an expert, a fact which he would always play down, but which the testimony of his students would confirm.

Outside the classroom Mike's passion for football brought him to run the Prep School soccer team from 1965 to 1982. He took over from Reg Manning, but unlike Reg did not referee from his car. Anyone who has tried to teach young boys to play the game of football properly will know that the first thing you have to do is prevent them all swarming over the ball in one great pack. This he achieved, and is prepared to say that his belief in an attacking style using two wingers produced a lot of fun, if not always great success. Many ex-prep boys will remember with affection his kindly guidance and patient coaching on games afternoons and after 4.00 in the gathering gloom of an Autumn evening.

None of this however speaks of the real qualities of the man himself, qualities that have endeared him to pupils and colleagues over the years. When, we asked in the Common Room the, other day, do you last remember Mike losing his temper? No one could. He is an extraordinarily gentle man - but this is not to say he lacked strong conviction. He is a socialist, and carried with it a profound hatred of Franco and his fascist regime. He, was always impatient with hypocrisy and humbug and despised pomposity He disliked hierarchy, especially when position was gained through privilege rather than merit.

The pupils are losing a very fine linguist and teacher, and a sympathetic, caring Form Master Those who have been under his auspices will know that they have been cared for by a man dedicated to virtue, a man without malice We, his colleagues, will miss a man we respect for his liberal sympathies and quiet manners. The Language Department has moved but his desk as before is located in a discreet position in a comer of the room. We will miss emanating from that unobtrusive comer the regular slap of hand on forehead as yet another rebellious piece of paper proves to have gone missing from his desk. And we will miss a friend whom you could always trust, whom you could turn to for honest advice, and whose gentle. wit and humour have sustained us for so long.

We wish Mike a long and peaceful retirement with his charming wife, Anne, and his family, who have throughout been his moral hinterland, the anchor for the values from which two generations of Haberdashers' have so richly benefited


Terry Carter


Keith Cheyney

I worked in the School Library from 1981 to 1987, first as a junior assistant on Monday lunchtimes, later helping to supervise the library on Friday evenings, and giving what extra time I could spare. During those six years the library (then in its old premises adjoining the house block) changed hardly at all, and my memories of it are almost photographically precise. At the centre of the library was the issue desk, where Keith stood to survey the scene like a captain on the bridge of his ship. On entering the small office behind the library, you were confronted by a small placard with the words:


Rows of periodicals ran along one wall, double banked and stacked up to the ceiling. The remaining shelves carried a few essential reference books, like British Books in Print, and a small cache of books that were considered too valuable or too suggestive to be put on the open shelves. The office was austerely furnished, with a filing cabinet, a pot plant, and a desk, where Keith could be found waging lengthy telephone battles to convince publishers that their books were in print, or where his wife Mary sat filing catalogue cards, or typing the names of borrowers with overdue books onto small cardboard strips. Somewhere a kettle would be boiling.

Despite its superficial ordinariness, the whole scene bore the strong stamp of Keith's personality. It was somehow characteristic that the library should have adopted the Bliss classification system, with its idiosyncratic and sometimes playful logic (B for Biology, C for Chemistry, CB for Organic Chemistry) rather than the more impersonal Dewey. It was equally characteristic that the periodicals were filed away for twenty years before being discarded. The Library had its own way of doing things, and its own way of measuring time, which did not always synchronize with the rest of the school.

Keith was one of the first professional librarians to be appointed to a school library, and he ran the place accordingly, up to the standards of the large public libraries where he had previously worked. He also kept in touch with new developments in the profession. When I went up to Cambridge in 1987 the college libraries were only just beginning to install security systems to protect the stock, but at Haberdashers' a security system had already been in operation for two or three years. This put an end to the problem of theft (a real problem; we had been losing scores of books every year), though Keith continued to make occasional dawn swoops on the History Department, where a few missing books would always mysteriously be lurking. Similarly, CD-ROMs were in use in the library at Haberdashers' several years before they became widely available in academic libraries.

Keith was not averse to new technology, although he had served his apprenticeship in the days before automation, and his organisation of the library remained highly labour-intensive. When the library was redecorated in the mid-1980s we carried the books upstairs by the armload, and spread them out in long rows on the tables. Then we manoeuvred the empty bookcases, inch by inch, to their new positions, and carried the books downstairs again. Though immensely time-consuming, the job could hardly have been done more efficiently; what was remarkable was Keith's readiness to take it on at all. He was mildly disappointed, I think, that we called in workmen to repaint the walls, instead of doing the work ourselves.

Keith's professional training was also evident in his commitment to the traditional values of the public library system. He was determined to preserve the independence of the library, as a place reserved for private study rather than appropriated for teaching. A school library was not a classroom with books in it, still less a school common-room: hence his exasperation, celebrated in school legend, when a teacher unloaded a class on the library without warning, or when a couple of sixth-formers chose to hold a conversation in a secluded corner.

The utility of the library was taken for granted, and as a result the library did not advertise itself: it was simply available for everyone who wished to use it. It is an ideal that owes more to Richard Hoggart than to Margaret Thatcher (not surprisingly, Keith's politics were moderately left-wing), and one that has passed rapidly out of fashion in the modern public library system. But it was perfectly suited to a school that expected its pupils to devote much of their time outside the classroom to private study. For every person who chafed under the Librarian’s strict discipline, there were others who worked in the library constantly and were grateful for the space and privacy it provided.

To those who showed an interest in using the library's resources, Keith could be immensely generous with his time and practical help. He encouraged me to look at the school archives, gave me free access to the library storeroom where they were kept, and spent several days one summer helping me to sort them out; after I completed a catalogue of them, he would introduce me to visitors as the school's honorary archivist, to my embarrassment and secret pride.

Keith's independence from the school's teaching departments had its disadvantages: he did not always liaise with other members of staff about the purchase of new books, so that the library's stock of A-level set texts and related books was strong in some subject areas, very weak in others. But he also had a breadth of vision which was denied to some of his colleagues whose notion of education was narrowly focused on the demands of the examination boards. He was, for example, one of the few teachers who encouraged me to extend my academic interests beyond the confines of the A-level syllabus. By teaching me the rudiments of bibliography, and the importance of checking facts for myself instead of relying on secondhand information, he also set me in the direction of postgraduate research, for which I am profoundly grateful.

Above all, he provided a refuge from the intense pressure which the school placed on its pupils, particularly during their exams. Late one summer, after we had finished the drastic reorganisation of the library described above, Keith took the library staff on a day trip (or, as he insisted on calling it, a "works outing") to two gardens owned by the National Trust, and to a country pub for lunch. It is a memory which I treasure, and which aptly combines Keith's wide interests, and love of the English countryside, with his gift for friendship and generosity of spirit.

Arnold Hunt (Haberdashers' 1976-87)


John Nixon


Roger Wakely

Roger retires from teaching this year (1994) after thirty-one years service on the staff at Haberdashers'. After graduating at Oxford in the nineteen-fifties, Roger worked for six years in industry, first for ICI and then for GEC where he worked in Education and Training. This later experience led him to consider school teaching and in 1963 he made the transition.

He is fond of contrasting the complexity of our present appointments system with the disarming simplicity of his own experience; a single phone call, an interview with Tom Taylor, and that it seems was that.

The extent of Roger's contribution to the School since that appointment is truly extraordinary. At various times he has been Head of Careers, Head of Practical Design, Head of Science and Industrial Fellow. In addition, for a number at years he organised the middle school X periods and sixth form subsidiary subjects, and ran the School tennis club. Roger's most enduring achievement at Haberdashers' has been in the Careers Department which he took over in 1966 and led for sixteen years. In that time he transferred it from the periphery of school life to the central position it occupies today.

Above all this, Roger is a schoolmaster who has communicated clearly and incisively to generations of young physicists his deep knowledge and love of his subject and, particularly, its practical applications. He has a keen intellect and a clarity of thought and expression that make him formidable and even feared. He always set the highest standards both for himself and for others but for those who penetrate the hard outer shell there is warmth and wisdom: I have found it a pleasure and privilege to work with him.

We are fortunate that Roger is to continue as the School's Industrial Fellow, fostering the link between education and industry that has always been his special interest. However, retirement will allow him more time to devote to his family, his music and his garden.

(Roger continued at school in a part-time capacity as Industrial Fellow until 2000)


Mary Cheyney


Michael Fitch

Michael Fitch, who was Head of English at Elstree from 1964 to 1993, died in November 1999 after a long and trying illness which he usually described, with characteristic understatement, as 'very inconvenient'. He was a great teacher, especially of clever boys, and his leadership over almost thirty years established the English Department at Haberdashers' as one of the best in the country. His much too early death is mourned by generations of his pupils and colleagues who were privileged to be counted among his friends.

Born in 1931, as an only child whose father died tragically young, Michael was always by disposition somewhat solitary and private. After infancy and prep. school in the West Country, Michael and his mother moved to London. He attended St Paul's as a Foundation Scholar, during and after the war of 1939-45. He left with enduring memories not only of frightening war-time bombing but also of a quality of education that remained his yardstick throughout his life.

As an Exhibitioner at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he read English and History. History was almost as great a passion for him as literature. David Griffiths, who was Head of History for much of Michael's time at Elstree, remembers that 'his fascination with both the French Revolution and the Troubles in Ireland was very apparent and he was disarmingly (alarmingly! - Keith Dawson) well informed. His range of knowledge fascinated Stuart Moore as much as it did me and the three of us would regularly be ensconced in the same seats in the Common Room pursuing some arcane point that interested Michael probably more than us. I am told that we looked like a trio of old crows 'sitting on the wa' but were never separated, which says much for the considerable respect - even awe - colleagues felt for Michael.'

After Cambridge, Michael's National Service was as an Education Officer in the R.A.F., mostly in Cyprus - at a dangerous time. Those who knew him in later years might be surprised to learn that he enjoyed these two years. Later, for six years, he commanded the R.A.F. section of the C.C.F. at Dulwich College, resigning in 1963 because, as he explained in his application to Haberdashers', 'I was beginning increasingly to doubt the value of this form of activity, except for a limited minority of boys'.

By the time he arrived at Elstree as Head of English at the age of thirty-three, Michael had nine years' experience at Dulwich. He had completely redesigned their school magazine, editing it for five years, and he had produced school plays, including an excellent 'Richard II' in 1963, a prelude to a string of memorable productions at Elstree.

Above all, he was already an outstanding teacher with his own clear ideas about what was important in teaching his subject and its (central!) place in a proper education. This was just as well. In-comers to Haberdashers' have to prove themselves to boys and colleagues alike, especially if they are appointed as head of department, and in the early 1960s the Common Room had its full share of the sharp-eyed and sharp-tongued. Michael certainly had more than one passage of arms in his early days but soon gained respect (very clearly here was someone to be reckoned with) and liking.

Michael had no formal training as a teacher and he was highly suspicious of educational theory. His ability as a teacher was instinctive and flowed from his intellectual and cultural interests, which were both broad and deep. In later years he often claimed to be out of touch. 'Of course', he would say, 'I know nothing these days', seeming to believe it. He would then launch into a penetrating analysis of the latest novel or film (he was an avid filmgoer), or tell of his recent visit to the new exhibition at the Royal Academy or the Tate. He had usually seen any play worth seeing well before colleagues and friends, and he was generous with invitations to the theatre, booking ahead for what he knew these particular friends would enjoy. Theatre-going to Michael was always an occasion, beginning or ending with good food and wine, and memorable talk.

For such a private man, Michael had an unusual talent for making and keeping friends, over a long time and great distances. Every holiday, a postcard would come, not with a scribbled conventional greeting, but with a witty and detailed analysis of the relationships between his fellow guests or a wickedly accurate description of the holiday location. Living on his own, he took particular interest in his friends' families - wives, children, brothers, sister-in-law and beyond. He had a special talent with young children and awkward adolescents, who began by finding him forbidding, discovering only later the mischievous twinkle that so many of his pupils recall.

Michael Fitch has left an enduring legacy. At the start of Robert Bolt's play 'A Man For All Seasons', Sir Thomas More tells the young Richard Rich that the Dean of St Paul's is prepared to offer him the post of schoolmaster at the new school. Rich, looking for preferment at court, is bitterly disappointed, but More presses him. 'Why not be a teacher? You'd be a fine teacher. Perhaps a great one. Rich is unconvinced. 'And if I was who would know it?' 'You, your pupils, your friends, God. Not a bad public that...' Thank you, Michael.

On his retirement in 1993:

'PROPRIETY VERGING ON MISCHIEF': an appreciation of Michael Fitch

Michael Fitch came to Haberdashers' in 1964 as Head of English. He retires in July. Colleagues and former pupils remember his years here...

Twenty years past, those of us fortunate enough to have Michael as both form master and English teacher considered ourselves fortunate indeed, both for the guiding, generous way he treated us as adults (whether we cared to be or not) and for the elegant, effortless way he communicated a deep enthusiasm for his subject. Michael projected the image of mild authoritarian - a facade we knew guarded a smile of delighted wickedness and genuine care. That wickedness surfaced, as is often the case, in the theatre. "A HANDbag?" enquired Michael's Lady Bracknell, as the then youthful Keith Dawson (playing Jack Worthing) stood on in wonder and a cold assembly hall rang with laughter...

Having worked with Michael for several years I have come to respect him as a first-rate schoolmaster and value him as a true friend. Respect is due in no small measure for the intellectual rigour he brings to every task or problem and for his immense literary, historical and critical knowledge. We have always enjoyed and occasionally been humbled by the sharpness of his wit: pupils who bound uninvited into the English office, or those less than enthralled by 'Great Expectations', his fellow teachers, even (dare I say it) headmasters, have all felt the edge of his tongue in some exquisitely phrased quip. Yet he is as capable of laughing at himself as at others, and is supportively sympathetic to anyone facing personal distress...

TIME: Chilly Sunday in March, late morning. Place: School Hall, cold as only the Hall could be. Dramatis Personae centre stage: cast of Royal Hunt/Merchant/ Shrew/AYLI/Tempest/Murder/Alchemist etc. preparing for a run-through.

Dramatis Persona peripheral: JSRW jumping on and off the stage, mostly to keep warm, but also trying to organise the crowd, keep the principals busy - and see the wood through the trees.
Dramatis Persona magisterial: DMF, sitting in his favourite position in the front row of the balcony, scarf wrapped, sheepskin coat buttoned, thermos of special warming liquid in front of him, watching intently, taking notes, seeing the shape, tracing the subtext, intervening where necessary, and afterwards at lunch discussing at length: a rigorously critical sounding-board, an unerring artistic long-stop, without whose judgment and support over a dozen and more plays, drama at Haberdashers' would, for me, have been immeasurably impoverished.

.. His contribution to staff drama was unforgettable. Summoned through steely lorgnette and august corsage by "Prism, come here! Where is that baby?" I had no need to act; 1 simply quailed. Similarly, when directing, there was little to do; one just built in his improvisations. His appearance in 'The Real Inspector Hound' as a turbanned char, feather-dusting on the trot, made drudgery divine for those watching. Once, when rehearsing this 'ballet' - to his own hummed accompaniment - he was disconcerted by switching on an unresponsive wireless set. Instinctively he thumped it, jolting an inert Richard Baker into announcing that a murderer was on the loose. "Keep that", I shouted from the balcony. His resumed cleaning, executed with a blinkered zeal, and taking him to within inches of the murderer's prone victim, was one of the funniest parodies I have ever seen. The third time I saw him on stage was as Hallam in 'Penny for a Song'. It was difficult to believe that lines with such Fitchean resonances had not actually been written for him. "Tell me", he says, wishing to read some Wordsworth, "do you know of a secluded place in the vicinity of this house to which I can retire for a while... for the purpose of performing my usual literary chores of the day?"...

It wasn’t like being taught, more like entering a charmed circle where things were worded differently. My introduction - "Why are you so languid?" the glasses lowered, eyes suddenly arranged into that merry theatrical squint - caused consternation in an untidy 15 year old. No schoolmaster had ever asked me such a thing. I wasn't sure what 'languid' meant, and had never dreamed that I might qualify for such a tricky, or interesting, description. There were plenty more of those over the next 7 terms, most, but not all, of them applied to people in books. The world had never seemed such an enthralling place before, and it hasn't done since...

Michael is a cerebral experience. The force of what he has said and how he has spoken is memorable. His report writing has a directness and perception that must have been as revealing to the students concerned as entertaining and informative to other readers. My particular favourite was an UCCA reference beginning "This boy is almost as clever as he thinks he is..". Neither shall I forget the look that briefly tenanted Michael's passive public face, a mixture of disbelief, despair and resignation that greeted the luckless colleague's remark that Shakespeare's 'King Lear' presented no great intellectual challenge. But above all he has been for many, students and colleagues alike, a stimulating draught of the best that our culture can offer...

... Michael, I have to revisit you inside 100 words! And really all the time since - still not out of range of your insights into my adolescent self and still, whatever I do, working words (even teaching English for a while). When I think of you, though, the literature is only part of it (I don't know that we particularly agreed on books), and I'm back with my early feeling - flattering, demanding, yes life-directing - of having been taken seriously. The things this has led to I acknowledge mine! But the difficult gift was yours...

... By traditional methods he ushered his pupils into the world of literary candour. They were shown the respect of being capable of feeling and analysis, even the occasional apercu... The very clever and the very unruly were kept in control by the withering stare and the ironic tongue. These weapons were put on display at the beginning of the year but thereafter were only wheeled on for amusement. There was no phoney pretence that the teacher/pupil barrier did not exist and the mutual respect established resulted in intense work and superb results, but above all a lifelong appreciation of literature...

... Sixth Form English with Michael Fitch was rarely dull. My 6B year involved an exhilarating plunge through English literature from Everyman to Eliot - not just the set books but a range of authors, whom, but for Michael's guidance, I might never have sampled. He could be a sharp critic, but is also a true enthusiast for his subject.

While literature can and does give one fresh insight into the human condition, it offers, above all, the chance to recharge one's imaginative batteries. Whatever one's profession, poetry and novels can still provide solace and inspiration. It is to Michael more than anyone else to whom 1 owe the habit of reading good literature for pleasure - a gift for which I shall owe him lifelong thanks...

... In our imagination, Michael belonged to an age altogether more rich and strange than the blandly positive one we inhabited. His last visit to church seems to have been to St Stephen's, Chelsea, where T.S. Eliot was a sidesman, so as to place a coin in the collecting bowl that Eliot handed him. We associated him with first productions by Beckett at the Royal Court, with 'Horizon', with the world of Desmond MacCarthy and Cyril Connolly. What did he use to sip from his flask in between those seemingly interminable close (and closed) readings from Shakespeare? Only a refined cocktail or some pre-war eau de vie would have matched our imaginings. We never found out...

...One of my favourite memories of Michael concerns the time he came to visit us in Scarborough and we nearly drowned him in the North Sea, nearly got him shot on the moors above Haworth and were not able to arrange for him to sunbathe on the leads at Castle Howard. As for Haworth, we told him it was almost as far from Scarborough as it was possible to go and still be in the same county, but he petulantly refused to look at the map, saying "It's all in the same county; it can't possibly take three hours". So we went. The North Sea nearly got him at Boggle Hole, walking from Robin Hood's Bay to Ravenscar (look at the map!), whilst the custodian at Castle Howard, overwhelmed by visitors following the success of 'Brideshead Revisited', let us go almost anywhere but where Michael hoped to go - up on the leads where Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons had sunbathed...

Our best and most revealing times were, perhaps, on the 'Twelfth Night' German tour (1969); myself as stage manager sharing some of the burdens of a two week round of schools and theatres with (among so many others) Michael and Keith Dawson, the co-producers. I remember Michael bearing with unruffled poise the strains of improvised staging, minibus packing, autobahn travel and bilingual chat far into the wine-tasting nights.

At one hotel, somewhere on our itinerary, I recall someone coming out with the quotation: "I never saw anyone take so long to dress, with such little result".

Memory is a treacherous beast, but I think the speaker must have been Michael, with reference to himself. I always regret that I missed his actual stage portrayal of Lady Bracknell...

.. To the theatre with Michael on many occasions, but most memorably to see Peter O'Toole as Macbeth. O'Toole was mesmerisingly bad - somewhere out beyond laughter - but the rest of the cast was just plain awful. We'd been sniggering intermittently from the start but then there came the line "And so his knell is knolled" delivered with such stiff, weighty pomposity that we both let out a combined, uncontrollable guffaw. Sitting in front of us were a father, mother and two young sons, all in their best theatre-going clothes. No, you never laugh in 'Macbeth' except at the porter (who, on this occasion, had his work cut out), so four disapproving heads swivelled round in unison and glared at us. Michael, trying to straighten his face, was a picture, and that picture recalls for me now what I have always so much enjoyed in his company: a sense of propriety verging on mischief, his artfully constrained relish for the absurd, the occasional absolute surrender as on that evening at the Old Vic...

This year’s production of 'Twelfth Night' brought back vivid memories of our joint production at Elstree in the late 1960's. Sharing play production, like marriage, is a relationship 'not to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, nor wantonly...' as Michael was wise enough to know, and we rather carefully parcelled out the scenes. Leaving me to deal with "Sir Toby and the lighter people" he set about the real challenge of making the courtly scenes and the verse live, with wonderful effect. Only those who've done it know what skills and relentless determination are needed to help young actors really perform and Michael did this marvellously; I'm sure they will have remembered the experience to this day.

Those who saw it will also remember his brilliant Lady Bracknell in an all-male staff production of 'The Importance of Being Earnest' in 1970. Played dead-straight, it was scintillatingly intelligent and fresh - no tired echoes of Edith Evans for Michael. The famous 'handbag' line was a revelation: long pause, fixed stare, then a slowly raised eyebrow and in a 'how interesting, take me with you' inviting tone... "A handbag??" Deadly accurate and very funny...

Contributors in order of appearance:

Ivor Benjamin, Michael Lempriere, Stephen Wilkins, David Griffiths, Robert Sandall, Stuart Moore, Michael Bird, Ben Brown, David Lidington MP, Mark Archer, Marjorie Dawson, Michael Palmer, John Mole, Keith Dawson


Doris Mainzer


Jim Muir


Rosemary Canadine


Frank Johnson


Bill Ashcroft


Jim Delaney


Charles Dinsdale


Jack Hurst


Pat Martin


Barbara Primmer


Alan Wood


Barbara Wood


Basil Flashman

Mr Flashman has been at Haberdashers' for 30 years. He teaches us History and tells jokes to make it fun. He takes us to many places, such as Mont Fitchet Castle. When he gets angry, he gets very angry!"

"Mr. Flashman is the greatest man I have ever known. He always tries to cheer us up with some jokes. Although he gives us a lot of homework he also makes it fun for us. I like his motorbike because it is very big."

These two testimonials from P1 and P2 speak for the whole of the Preparatory School. Asked to sum up their Headmaster in two or three sentences almost to a man they tell of interesting History lessons, appalling jokes, strictness but abundant kindness. I have no doubt that Basil Flashman will be remembered above all for his great-heartedness and love for every single member of the Prep. It is the kindness and the humour that you notice first; a slow but radiant smile, and eyes which light up with the sheer fun of being alive, but notice also the set of the jaw and the extraordinarily strong neck muscles. Here is someone with true grit - not a man to be trifled with - so it comes as no surprise to learn that he was his college boxing champion in the late 1940s.

Basil Flashman has been at Habs since 1957 and ever since the move to Elstree in 1961 he has had responsibility for the Preparatory School, first under Mr. Manning who was Head of both the Prep and the Junior School, but from 1966 entirely on his own. Over the years he has come to embody the Prep and there are many among boys, parents and teachers who wonder if there can be life after BDF. Certainly it will not be the same, as Basil Flashman is a great individualist who has stamped his mark on the Prep and given it some of his character.

When he arrived at Flower Lane, Mill Hill (the home of the Prep School in 1957), Basil had already had a very varied life. Born in Jhansi, North India, in 1926, he was six years old when he came to England for the first time to attend Bembridge School, Isle of Wight. As a teenager, at the outbreak of war, he was evacuated to Coniston in the Lake District, where the school stayed for three and a half years, and in 1943, at the age of 17, began his working life as a journalist on the Gravesend and Dartford Reporter. Some of his work he sold to the national newspapers at the then princely rate of two shillings and sixpence per line. Basil obviously enjoyed his year as a journalist but in 1944 he was called up to the Army and served with the Intelligence Section in Cairo and India where he not only learnt Urdu but also witnessed the beginning of the end of the British Raj in 1947. It was in India that he learnt to play hockey and his enthusiasm for the game has been such that he continues to play 45 years later for St Albans Veterans - grit and determination once more.

After the war, Basil trained to teach at Westminster College, achieving a distinction in his final examination with, not surprisingly, pure "A" for teaching practice. He was appointed to one of only two vacancies in the whole of Middlesex, and from 1951 to 1956 he taught at Grange School, Ealing, in conditions very different from those which prevail today. There were 55 children in his class and his main memory is that he "never stopped marking". Each week he had to submit to his Headmistress detailed notes of the lessons he planned to give in the coming week and equally detailed comments on the lessons of the week just passed. Any lapses in his punctuation or spelling were ruthlessly checked.

The high standards that Mr. Flashman acquired in those early years prepared him well for the demands of Haberdashers'. He remembers his time at Flower Lane with great affection. The Prep was smaller then, about 150, and not so competitive as it is now. The Entrance Examinations, he says, were much easier. Inevitably, the Prep then felt much more detached from the Main School but there was a good family atmosphere under the benevolent care of Mr. R A Lewin and it was with mixed feelings that Basil and his colleagues left Mill Hill to come to Elstree in 1961.

Conditions in those early years at Elstree were much worse than they had been at Flower Lane. The BBC (now the Design Centre but then much more primitive both in design and appearance) served as home not only to the entire Prep School but also to senior boys doing private study, to the Geography Department, and in the evenings to the boarders doing their prep. It is difficult to know quite how they survived, but they did, and Basil believes that the terrible inconvenience was made worthwhile because of the much broader outlook that came to the Prep Staff who were now fully integrated with the Common Room as a whole.

For 22 years Basil Flashman and his colleagues worked on in the BBC Block. Plans for a bright new Preparatory School were drawn up in the late 60s in consultation with the then Headmaster Dr T W Taylor, and a committee of parents raised a considerable amount of many in support of the venture. Quite naturally Basil was frustrated - he said "disappointed" - when it was decided to build the Music School rather than the Prep School in 1972 but he added with typical generosity: "I was absolutely delighted for the musicians."

Twenty-two years of patience and planning were rewarded when, following an extraordinarily generous gift from an anonymous source, the new Preparatory School was built and opened formally in June 1983. Basil Flashman looks back on that day, and the visit of HRH Princess Margaret, with immense pride and pleasure, and certainly the life of the Prep flourished as never before in its new home. It is the growth of music-making that has given Basil most pleasure.
It has always been his ambition for the Prep School to have its own orchestra, choir and recorder groups and he has been very proud of their performances in the last year.

In retirement, Basil Flashman will be able to look back on 32 years of marvellous service to this school. He has given it his all and his example of commitment and service to the school is an inspiration to all those around him. For each of the last 25 years he has led the Prep School Camp, and for the last 22 years he has taken Prep boys skiing. Throughout this time his History pupils and their mums and dads have made elaborate models of Norman castles and the like from cornflakes packets, some of which have been dusted down and passed from brother to brother or father to son. His jokes are notorious, he calls them "pathetic", but they are much loved and have helped create the Flashman legend. That legend is also fed by his large motorbike. Basil and his wife Margaret, herself an Old Haberdasher, have every reason to look forward to a long and happy retirement. He is proudest of the raising of the academic standards and the range of opportunities available to his boys; and the support and friendship of a loyal and committed staff. His biggest regret is the long time that was spent in the BBC building. He still has ambitions - just one more room, "positively my final demand".

We shall all miss him enormously. I leave the last word to a member of P3.

"B D Flashman is a friendly old man but he is always telling terrible jokes. I am sad he will be leaving and I am sure everybody else is. When he retires I hop (sic) he will remember these 30 years as a golden treasure as I am sure they have been."

Keith Dawson, Skylark 1989


Zach Taylor


Sheila Watson


Barry Goater


"Why do you want an article about me?" asked Mr. Goater.

At the end of this term, Mr. Goater retires after 102 terms at Haberdashers'. He seems relatively unaffected by thirty-four first year sets, probably because of his extraordinary attitude to little brats and the nicer pupils alike. This also hinges on his sense of humour, which will have been noticed by any who have had the good fortune to know, or have been taught by him. When asked recently to recall childhood memories, he typically jested that he could remember "making 103 at billiards about a year ago!". However, a large amount of truth underlies the joke - it is his ever youthful attitude which always made it a pleasure to be taught by him, whatever stage in school-life one happens to be at.

Mr. Goater has not merely restrained himself to the classroom. Much time and enthusiasm have been devoted to the CCF: 12 years ago he ended a 21 year period in the RAF section. He also set up the Ornithological Society 14 years ago, which, sadly, faces great difficulty without him. As a fan of Athletics, Mr. Goater has made a huge impact on the school. The Goater Cup, a major inter-school Cross Country race, has now been run 25 times and will be a lasting tribute and reminder of a devotee.

Mr. Goater's youth was spent in wartime Britain and the two hobbies he obviously enjoyed most were collecting war souvenirs, and moths/ butterflies. The former was a day time occupation, involving anti-aircraft shells, "Molotov Breadbaskets" (apparently, incendiary bombs were slung from them) and, most valuable in terms of peer prestige, an anti-aircraft shell nosecap.

The study of moths and butterflies has been a part of Mr. Goater's life since early days. It was a family hobby, his Grand-father used to take him with when he went out collecting lepidoptera(!), and his mother used to set them.

However, staying up at night and putting sugar on a tree, under lights, was the best part. In his own words, "I got hooked!"

On the issue of whether it is cruel (or not) to trap moths and butterflies, Mr. Goater is adamant. He maintains that he no longer catches butterflies - he sticks to moths, "a lot is known about butterflies and they have vulnerable populations, because they are day fliers. Moths tend to be nocturnal and thus less vulnerable and much less is known about them." He always debates with his conscience whether the moth he is about to trap is required for research or not and he added, "I kill as few as I possibly can".

Mr. Goater has been a fine teacher who will be sorely missed. That is why we wanted an article about him. Furthermore, his greatest, but least acknowledged, contribution to science is the discovery of everlasting youth, if only he could tell us how he does it ...

Marcel Berenblut and Laurence Sitch


Leo Guidon

Leo Guidon joined the staff in September, 1955, on completion of his studies at St Catharine's, Cambridge and after National Service in the Army. His enthusiasm for cricket soon became apparent: by the end of his first year he was running the 2nd XI and during his second he assumed overall responsibility for the sport, a position he handed over to Doug Yeabsley in 1966.

In 1961 Leo was appointed Senior Spanish Master and, two years later, he became Senior French Master. It was in January, 1966, that he succeeded John McNair as Head of Modern Languages. The untimely death of R A Lewin early in 1968 saw yet another development in Leo's career: W F Barling's promotion to Second Master was followed by Leo's appointment as Senior Master.

Leo's personal and professional gifts have made him a much respected and always approachable member of the school. A kindly man, he has never been known to utter a harsh word and has the enviable ability to see some good in everyone. His even temper and tolerance are supported by a fine sense of humour: there is often a merry twinkle in his eye as he corrects the pronunciation of a Headmaster who tries his hand with a foreign phrase. As a thinker, and probably he is best described as a lateral thinker, Leo provides expert analysis of situations. He spots loopholes in the most well-planned schemes; but always points them out tactfully and helpfully. This ability to consider and solve problems has made his work as Senior Master most valuable.

When he first took over the post, he helped the current Headmaster, Dr T W Taylor, with the timetable. On Tom Taylor's retirement, the entire task fell to Leo. The hallmark of his work has always been his meticulous attention to the most minute detail, a product of the long hours he spends, out of school time and during Whitsun and Easter holidays, in order to satisfy the requests of boys and staff alike. It is seldom the case that a boy's choice of subject at `O' or `A' level cannot be accommodated, nor the requests of a Head of Department satisfied.

The Senior Master works closely with the Headmaster, the Governors and all senior staff. Yet Leo Guidon has never been too proud to take on any job that needed doing. For many years he led an SCS (SSU, then) group "helping" the ground-staff: the Autumn field day/Junior Com-mendation would often find him up to his ears in mud cleaning out a pond in the morning, and in full academic dress in the afternoon organising prizes to be handed to a visiting V.I.P. for presentation.

Leo has always been willing to help anyone in need: a lasting memory will be of the Senior Master in immaculate suit bending over a greasy engine of some student, colleague or parent, persuading it to start. On one classic occasion, he found a motorist broken down outside the school gates at about 6 pm. He stopped to help and eventually towed the car to Radlett. Only then did he discover that the driver had no connection of any kind with the school. Many a new member of staff, arriving homeless in the area, has been invited into the Guidon household.

Leo and his wife, Molly, have three daughters and one son, John. A former pupil at Habs, he is now married and living in California, with the first Guidon grandson. Leo and Molly are both keen travellers - in western Europe and now the USA. Retirement will provide them, we hope, with many opportunities to pursue their interest in travel. Perhaps the amateur naturalist, the fisherman and photographer in Leo will now flourish without the daily pressures of senior responsibility and school life. In any case, we all wish Leo and Molly a very fruitful and enjoyable retirement; we shall miss his quiet, tactful efficiency and unending good humour.


Bob Tyler

Bob hails from Coventry and attended King Henry VIII School, there serving as School Captain in his final year. A schoolboy during war years, he has a fund of funny stories about emergency arrangements and special duties. He and his fellow pupils actually played their part in rebuilding parts of the school after bomb damage.

Bob did two years of National Service which included a period working for Army Intelligence in North Germany. He then proceeded to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied German and French under the great teacher Trevor Jones, the outstanding lexicographer of his generation and the most human of academics. In 1956 Bob returned to his old school to teach and, incidentally, I was fortunate enough to be his pupil there.

In 1965 he moved to be Head of German at Harrow County Grammar School and six years later he came to Haberdashers'. He was in charge of German here for eleven years and House Master of Joblings from 1976 to 1982. For the past six years he has been Head of Middle School with a brief to supervise and guide some 470 boys in the third, fourth and fifth years.

As a classroom teacher Bob has always been supreme. The meticulous approach of someone who regularly completes the most difficult of crosswords while many others are still abed shows itself in his teaching: every aspect of a course is carefully covered, every point is painstakingly marked. Boys of considerable potential and boys who find language demanding have benefited greatly from the clarity and purposefulness of Bob's style. You work hard but there is a lot of laughter as well: a lightness of touch and a sense of what boys like enliven his lessons. Generations of sixth formers have admired the distinctive combination of impressive scholarship and practical teaching which their teacher has offered them. His immense vocabulary (kept up to-date by an exacting personal reading programme) and his unerring eye for accuracy have led many to aim for ever higher degrees of precision. For a number of years he acted as Chief Examiner for one of the G.C.E. boards and was characteristically conscientious in the execution of these extra duties.

As a schoolmaster Bob has been - in the words of his first headmaster - the sort of person who makes a school. For more than 20 years he watched rugby teams and is well known as the most loyal supporter of school teams and a keen viewer of internationals. He has sung in many choirs in school and outside and his reliability and the accuracy of his powerful tenor voice have helped to give substance to many performances. A regular member of the Chapel congregation, he is anxious to continue to learn and to celebrate the faith which has sustained him all his life. Many of us have good reason to be grateful to him for innumerable acts of kindness always carried out quietly and without fuss.

As a man Bob inspires confidence. He is both strong and wise. He can move quickly from putting right a boy who has done something regrettable to offering thoughtful advice to a boy experiencing difficulties in school. Blessed with an unusually large store of common sense, Bob often sees what is most important in a situation and has a practical approach to making things better. He does not like opportunities to be wasted but he has all the time in the world for the individual trying his best, grappling with difficulties, hoping to improve.

All those of us who have known Bob as teacher, colleague or friend wish him - together with Margaret and Jonathan - all the very best for the future. It is so sad that such a vigorous colleague should have early retirement forced on him by an eye problem which has already caused much discomfort for several years. We all hope for an easing of the difficulty in the less hectic days ahead and we express our gratitude to this most dutiful of all schoolmasters for his unstinting hard work, loyalty and humour.

Stephen Wilson


David Bavers


John Lear


Jack Spackman


John Welbourne

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