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Notable Old Boys

MICHAEL COOKE. Croydon 1953-54.
"1954 bought entry to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying piano and organ, the organ quickly taking priority."
Poet, borne 1942. Education includes Clark's at Croydon.



Margaret Anderson

Mrs. Margaret Cloke (Nee Anderson), Clark's College, Croydon

I am not sure if it is of interest to you to know that Margaret passed away peacefully aged 82 in the early hours of Sunday, 17th April, 2011 after some years with vascular dementia.

From 1949 to December 1962 she was the sole school / headmaster's secretary in the times of Mr Valentine and subsequently Mr Thomas. Margaret and I were married in May 1960 and her subsequent resignation from Clark's was only due to the relocation of my own employment to Essex..

In October 1970 Margaret and I (together with our 2 children Eleanor and Jonathan) were appointed Methodist Missionaries to the United Church of Zambia until our return to the UK (Bath) in 1979 where Margaret continued to use her secretarial skills until her retirement in 1989.

Her health gradually deteriorated until the onset of her dementia and she spent the last 5 years or so in a kind of limbo, unable to communicate and unable to read, watch TV or even recognise music (all her life she had been a member of choirs both church and secular).

Fred Cloke


Christopher Hunter

It's funny how these things come up ... last night, on the 'net, Googling for something quite unrelated, the name Michael Glasspole caught my eye, for reasons unclear, and when I clicked :

the words Clark's College, Croydon appeared ...

Googling that brought your OCA web-site into view ...

exploring that, a box labeled Croydon was presented, leading to a good photo' of a school building I certainly recognised (the newer one) ...

and then the Memoir piece on Margaret Anderson, who I do recall, along with Mr Thomas, in a shadowy sort of way ... it all being so very long ago !

The piece on the history of Clark's College was very interesting - most of it was new to me ...

and now I think I understand why my mother chose to send me there, after I'd failed my 11+ - her family having Civil Service connections, her step-sister having learnt secretarial skills at one of the branches, its offering a Modern spread of subjects, it being affordable, and local-ish (we lived ten miles away) ...

To mention some names I remember / think I remember (hope spellings are right)

teachers - Mr Duval, Mr Mitchell, Mr Cantellow ...

girls - Veronica Gough, Glynis Wain, Denise Withers, Judy Corrigan, Lesley Chambers ...

boys - David Martin, Dave Clark, Paul Smith, Dennis Webber, Ian Haverill, Paul Watling ...

and Chris Ure, and Michael Glasspole, who I think were in classes following ours ...

As I recall, our class was fairly unruly, and our first form-mistress (*) struggled to cope - something that led to Mr Duval taking us on, with a firm hand, and staying with us through the years thereafter - he also took us for English, for some years, and for a while History & Geography, too, IIRC

(*) she also took us for English, and near the beginning of our first term gave us Ryder Haggard's King Solomon's Mines to read, by end of term (it was a good read, and in two days I was asking for more) ...

John Smuts (Wood Green), in his entry in The Memoirs from Other branches section, notes that Mr Cantellow taught Math's there before departing to become head of another branch - ie: Croydon - he also took us for Math's, for our last term or two, and for a while, before a class, would come ask how far had we got & where he should start ...

Prior to that, Mr Mitchell took us for Math's - his lessons were full of stories, designed to keep our attention, with the Math's somehow slipped-in along the way - very effective, I found ...

Also prior to that, Mr Thomas one summer set-up a badminton net & gave us quoits, in the hope of fewer tennis balls (footballs) going over the gates into the Co-op depot next-door - good fun ...

Funny what one remembers - the initial interview with Mr Thomas, chaos in the tuck-shop, our Physics teacher lending apparatus for weekend experiments at home, our English Literature teacher's despair when one day we suddenly had to choose between science & literature, the day he took us to Stratford upon Avon, Mr Duval marking exam' papers & writing reports while overseeing free-association periods at ends of terms, having only half the time to do an exam because of a mix-up on dates, some sort of a do at the Fairfield Halls ...

Paul Watling - I often travelled on the train with him, to & from school - a year or two later, he went-by in a car & jumped out to say hello ... a quick Google shows he's still about, too !

Goodness, just a few years, and such short terms - as it seems, now - and such a long time ago ...

Somewhere we will have my school reports, certificates (IIRC - Clark's own Preliminary & Intermediate, London Chamber of Commerce, London O-level), and the card my final English teacher sent when, to his surprise, I did actually pass the O-level exam' in his subject ... when we next move house, maybe we'll find them ...

Chris Hunter


Stuart Spragg

Hi there, I just thought you might be interested in looking at my vintage lighter once belonging to one of your former headmasters the late Mr Colin Winchester.

I bought the lighter on a online auction site from a family member. Its engraved on the side with the following

Prefects of Clark’s College

It's a beautiful lighter that has been well loved and looked after. It still works perfectly. To be honest I feel quite privileged to own it, almost like owning a piece of history.

I hope this might be of interest to you, I would love to show it to the prefects who purchased the lighter back in day.

Stuart Spragg


George Haley

Good Morning, I managed to attend with no distinction whatsoever Bristol, Croydon and finally Southend on Sea, which you don't mention strange to say. I do recall Croydon especially when looking at the 'blockhouse' photo. Bristol I didn't recognise the outside but it fits with my memory of the classroom I occupied. I can only remember a few names from Croydon, Martin Devonish or Devonshire and a lad called Gaillard [pronounced Guy-yard]. I also remember the headmaster but not his name and an English Teacher a Miss Armstrong I always thought she was very attractive, that I do recall. From Southend I seem to recall a red haired lad with a family name of Butler whose father owned a Garage on the Arterial Road just past Jones Corner towards the Eastwood side. Also, a Sports Day at Prittlewell Park. I don't recall the dates at the moment other than late 50's early 60's. My father was a musician and we moved all the time probably that is why I do not remember many other pupils. I would be interested in any photographs of Southend, it was situated on the main road into the Town Centre, I think it was Victoria Avenue. All a bit vague but that is why I am looking to find any memory triggers. Hope some of the info was useful, all the best,

George Haley


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