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The school was first opened in 1913 at Forest Gate and soon transferred to 83 Cranbrook Road, Ilford. The first Head at Ilford was Mr. H. R. Taylor who continued from 1915 until his retirement in 1950. He was affectionately known as Tazzy.

1915 – 1950 H.R. Taylor
1950 – 1963 S/Ldr.(rtd) J.T.C. Skellon
1963 – 1968 Col.(rtd) O.C.S. Dobbie
1968 – 1971 Mr. Colin Winchester
1971 – 1973 Mr. E.Ll. Jones
1973 – 1974 Mr. Geoffrey Morris

The Old Clarkonian Association at Ilford was formed in the school’s first year and held a dinner the following year. Annual dinners have continued since then except for intervals during and just after wartime.

The OCA remains active today, with the dinner being the main function. These are held in May and, in recent times, at the Park Inn Hotel, near Lakeside close to the Dartford Thames crossing. The seating plan ensures that members will be with others of the same year. Inevitably, conversation dwells on the days when we were together as pupils but is never limited to that. Interest is often focused on the years since. The evening is traditionally enlivened by a speaker.

The Association’s AGM is conducted prior to the dinner.

With a subscription of £6 for a period of 3 years, former pupils can, at least, be in touch with their school mates.

In addition, each year an informal gathering - known as our Winter Warmer - has been held, at the Holiday Inn, Brentwood. Date and venue do vary.

It would be useful if you mention the years you attended, your house, the headmaster at the time. Please include your address to which a membership form may be sent. Any additional comment, memories and information regarding your years at Clark’s would be welcome, and may assist in expanding the history part of this website. Any information provided will be only for the records of the Association.

Chairmen and Dinners

Years No. Venue Chairman
2019 - 2020 86 Cancelled due to Covid 19  
2018 - 2019 85 Stifford Hall Hotel John Houston
2017 - 2018 84 Stifford Hall Hotel John Dixon
2016 - 2017 83 Park Inn Stifford Nick Jones
2015 - 2016 82 Park Inn Stifford John Caisley
2014 - 2015 81 Park Inn Stifford Steven Belemore
2013 - 2014 80 Park Inn Stifford Nick Scott
2012 - 2013 79 Park Inn Stifford Eric L. Cole
2011 - 2012 78 Park Inn Stifford Malcolm Jones
2010 - 2011 77 Park Inn Stifford Gary Scott
2009 - 2010 76 Park Inn Stifford Brian Lunn
2008 - 2009 75 Park Inn Stifford Ernst Gupta
2007 - 2008 74 Park Inn Stifford Andrew Grisdale
2006 - 2007 73 Park Inn Stifford Ken Healey
2005 - 2006 72 Park Inn Stifford Simon Botwright
2004 - 2005 71 Park Inn Stifford Geoffrey Duffield
2003 - 2004 70 Park Inn Stifford Lionel Cooper
2002 - 2003 69 Park Inn Stifford John Houston
2001 - 2002 68 Park Inn Stifford Robin Hunt
2000 - 2001 67 Park Inn Stifford Bernie Deane
1999 - 2000 66 Park Inn Stifford Kevin Howes
1998 - 1999 65 Stifford Moat House Russell Allen
1997 - 1998 64 Stifford Moat House George Mulliner
1996 - 1997 63 Stifford Moat House Michael Dunn
1995 - 1996 62 Stifford Moat House Richard Venables
1994 - 1995 61 Stifford Moat House Ossie Wilkins
1993 - 1994 60 Stifford Moat House Ian Roberts
1992 - 1993 59 Stifford Moat House George Spark
1991 - 1992 58 Stifford Moat House Nicholas Scott
1990 - 1991 57 Stifford Moat House Colin Loftus
1989 - 1990 56 Stifford Moat House Warner W. Waite
1988 - 1989 55 Stifford Moat House Colin L. Winchester
1987 - 1988 54 Stifford Moat House John F. Harris
1986 - 1987 53 Stifford Moat House Geoffrey Morris
1985 - 1986 52 Stifford Moat House Kenneth Still
1984 - 1985 51 Stifford Moat House Eddie Leigh
1983 - 1984 50 Stifford Moat House Eddie Liegh
1982 - 1983 49 Stifford Moat House Paul H. King
1981 - 1982 48 Atherton Suite John Dixon
1980 - 1981 47 Atherton Suite Leslie G. V. Howlett
1979 - 1980 46 Atherton Suite Derek Keeley
1978 - 1979 45 Atherton Suite Malcolm E. Jones
1977 - 1978 44 Angel Hotel Pat R. Howard
1976 - 1977 43 Angel Hotel H. E. King
1975 - 1976 42 Bald Faced Stag Arnold K. R. Spence
1974 - 1975 41 Victory Hall Chigwell Ian N. Roberts
1973 - 1974 40 Cauliflower Hotel Peter J. Howard
1972 - 1973 39 Angel Hotel Raymond C. Smith
1971 - 1972 38 Marios Restaurant D Stonely
1970 - 1971 37 Marios Restaurant Warner W. Waite
1969 - 1970 36 Angel Hotel George Spark
1968 - 1969 35 Angel Hotel Col. O. C. S. Dobbie
1967 - 1968 34 Angel Hotel J. Dixon
1966 - 1967 33 Angel Hotel R. J. Rush
1965 - 1966 32 Angel Hotel J. T. C. Skellon
1964 - 1965 31 Angel Hotel F. H. Shepherd
1963 - 1964 30 Angel Hotel Dr. I. S. Gold
1962 - 1963 29 Angel Hotel D. Keeley
1961 - 1962 28 Angel Hotel C. B. Dennell
1960 - 1961 27 Angel Hotel P. J. Howard
1959 - 1960 26 Angel Hotel L. G. V. Howlett
1958 - 1959 25 Angel Hotel A. E. Maylin
1957 - 1958 24 Angel Hotel K. D. Hedge
1956 - 1957 23 Angel Hotel C. B. Godfrey
1955 - 1956 22 Angel Hotel R. R. G. Reid
1954 - 1955 21 Angel Hotel H. R. Taylor
1953 - 1954 20 Angel Hotel A. R. Cooper
1952 - 1953 19 Horse Shoe Hotel E. G. Funnell
1951 - 1952 18 Horse Shoe Hotel J. W. Ellis
1950 - 1951
1949 - 1950 17 Horse Shoe Hotel K. E. Cooper
1948 - 1949 16 Comedy Restaurant J. A. Atwell
1947 - 1948 15 Horse Shoe Hotel H. E. King
1937 - 1938 14 Leicester Corner Restaurant J. H. Harris
1936 - 1937 13 Leicester Corner Restaurant A. L. H. Ewin
1935 - 1936 12 Northumberland Rooms K. J. Still
1934 - 1935 11 Comedy Restaurant H. R. Taylor
1933 - 1934 10 Comedy Restaurant R. W. F. Porter
1932 - 1933 9 Florence Restaurant W. M. Still
1931 - 1932 8 Florence Restaurant S. A. Thompson
1930 - 1931 7 London Tavern A. J. Elston
1929 - 1930 6 London Tavern Dr. I. S. Gold
1928 - 1929 5 London Tavern S. Crawley
1927 - 1928 4 Andertons Restaurant M. J. Jones
1920 - 1921 3 Holborn Restaurant Ernest G. V. Clark
1919 - 1920 2 Holborn Restaurant Ernest G. V. Clark
1913 - 1914 1 Alexandra, Stratford George E. Clark

Year of 1963

para 1963

Notable Old Boys

These are brief notes on some of the pupils who, since leaving Ilford Boys, have  became known in their field of profession, business or other work. We would be pleased to receive information regarding others not yet included below, also, updated detail for those who are.

TED TOLEMAN - attended c1948 to 1953
Having been in the transport business, Toleman went into motor sport as team owner and constructor. He later formed a Formula 1 team with his own car and gave Ayrton Senna his first F1 season. Toleman later sold his team to Benetton, then went into off-shore power boat racing.

WILLIAM SHEARMAN - attended 1952 to 1954
Endeavoured to go into politics but, perhaps, main achievement was establishing the charity Crisis. Search will reveal reviews of his life, regrettably in obituaries following his death in 2005. Although not mentioning his time at Clark’s, a notice in the Whitsun 1961 edition of the Educator reports his visit to the school whilst recovering from the road accident he had suffered.

LEE SCOTT - attended ???? to 1972
Entered politics. Became MP for Ilford North.

DAVID BAILEY - attended ???? to 1952
Renowned photographer, whose website has quite strong views of his shortened time at Clark’s.

COLIN ORTON - attended 1949 to 1954
Ph.D. at Bristol University. Professor Emeritus, Wayne State University. Past-President, Int. Union of Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine.

BARRIE WEBB - attended c1948 to 1952
Successful world-wide business ventures in construction. As reported by the Ilford Recorder (Jan 2003):- Retired construction worker Mr. Webb, who was a pupil at Clark’s College in Cranbrook Road, until 1952, donated half the £1m needed to build the new (specialst cancer centre at King George Hospital, Goodmayes) unit, which is due to open in September.

MEMORIES - (taken from our first web pages)

James Baker

My name is James Baker and I was a student at the Ilford branch from 1943-1948. Mr. H. R. Taylor (Tassie) was the headmaster. I was in Valentines House. We had a games afternoon on wednesdays and played football and cricket, according to the season, at the PLA ground in The Drive.

My first teacher was Mrs Wilson, who was very efficient, but also very sarcastic towards students who 'got it wrong'.

Mr Groce (I'm not sure of the spelling) was an excellent French teacher who taught pronunciation correctly, instead of as usually taught in schools. Unfortunately, he would lecture us on the virtues of communism, and eventually, after complaints from some parents, left the Ilford branch and went to Finchley. However, he left a lasting impression on me, and I found his stories fascinating.

Then there was Mr Smith, who had been invalided out of the RAF after a plane crash. He was extremely inefficient, and left after an incident at one of the camps he organised in the holidays, somewhere near Reading, I think, although I did not go on any of them.

I remember Mr Hewett, who used to drum his fingers on the desk. The story was that he was a drummer in a local dance band, but I never saw any evidence of this.

There was another teach who left an impression on me, whose name I cannot recall. He was tall with a moustache, and an excellent teacher of English, the best I ever had. After a term or so in form 5b, he left suddenly and went to Cranbrook College. We felt let down, and never found out the reason for his leaving.

His place was taken by Mr Stringer, who was a good teacher, but could be a trifle sarcastic.

I left in July 1948, and started a job as an office boy with a leading insurance company until the inevitable call-up in 1950.

In 1969 I took my wife and small son to live in Australia, where we are to be found to this day.

Here, I was a company executive, and ended my career as a marketing consultant, retiring in 1996.

Hoping this narrative will be of some use in piecing together the events at the Ilford Branch.

Yes, you can include my meanderings with the memoirs in the Ilford pages. I forget to mention that I was a part-time musician for many years, and still write and arrange music, although retired from active gigs.

My best friend at Clark's was Ron Bush, who you wouldn't know, because he finished when I did. We kept in touch for awhile afterwards.

My wife & I have been back to the UK for visits, the last time was last year, and we hope to go again next year to see family members.

I have looked at Cranbrook Road where the school was on Google Earth, and it is unrecognisable these days, but that's to be expected after more than 60 years.

I am 78 and in good health, touch my head!!



Don Bird

I herewith forward a Panoramic scan of a photograph in my possession. It is the pupils and staff of Clark's College Ilford branch 1949. Due to lack of space in The Cranbrook Road Building the whole school assembled in the girls' branch around the corner in Park Avenue. The Headmaster Mr. H. R. Taylor sits arms folded, above the word 'school'. On his right is Mr. R.B. Stringer who was an excellent teacher. Fourth from Mr. Taylor's right hand sits Miss Taylor the teacher of 2b. I believe she was Mr. Taylor's sister. On Mr. Taylor's left is Mr. Norris the gym master, not at that time a young man, but still an excellent gymnast.The fourth person from Mr. Taylor's left is his daughter and secretary Mary Taylor. Next to Mary is Mrs. B Wilson who taught 2a at that time. She was another good teacher who was very articulate and could flatten one with a few well chosen words. I do not know who the other teachers were, and can in fact remember nothing about them at all. If any body knows I would be interested. I am in the second row down immediately above the unknown teacher sitting on Mr. Stringer's right. I was in the VI form then and can remember many of the names, particularly those in close proximity to me.

If you would like to publish this on The Old Clarkonians' web site please do so.

Don Bird (1943-49. Valentines House)


Don Bowyer

When I finally left Clark’s (oh joy), my crop of ‘O’ Levels meant I could go on to college. So off I went to Walthamstow Polytechnic for two years for an Ordinary National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Looking back, is seems a bit strange, as I always thought of Clark’s as being more “arty.”

Still, engineering it was and what a great college it was. During the first summer holiday, four of us spent 6 weeks hitch-hiking around Europe covering 2,500 miles which today doesn’t sound much today, even though it would probably be impossible, but then it was a bit of a feat.

After Walthamstow came a student apprenticeship with The Marconi Company (sadly no longer in existence) and a Higher National Diploma in Electronics.

On joining the company full time, I became a field engineer for the Airadio Division which designed and built Avionics for military and civil aircraft.

My first “posting” was two weeks in Saint Louis in the USA to support equipment fitted to the McDonnell Douglas Phantom aircraft bought following the cancellation of TSR2. Two weeks became a year and I came to learn that these ‘extensions’ were the norm – you just weren’t told till you got there.

I got promotion, first to Marketing Manager – a job which involved world wide travel – then to Managing the division itself.

12 years later I went into general management with emphasis on the development of infrared sensors for military applications.

I was married in 1969, have a son and daughter, one grandson and one more (type TBD) on the way. I took early retirement in 1995 as did my wife soon afterwards and yes, we both still wonder how we managed to do all the things we did and go to work!

Don Bowyer, February 2010


Peter Button (St Chads 1951-1958)

I Remember ...

Being a new recruit at just 10 years old. I was delivered to the School at 83 Cranbrook Road, Ilford, freshly fitted out with a brand new school uniform from Henry Taylors (school outfitters) of Ilford Lane. I was proud of the brightly embroidered School logo on the blazer. I hadn’t a clue what ‘Finis Opus Coronat’ meant but they helped me with that.

Having to buy School stationery that included a multi-coloured wooden shaft dip-and-scratch pen and penny (1d) steel nibs, and a School handwriting copy book along with assorted exercise books.

Meeting the Head Master, who turned out to be an ex-Squadron Leader, complete with handlebar moustache. He was a friendly, fierce-looking gentleman who frightened the life out of me but taught me discipline and a few other subjects.

I Remember ...

Some of the teachers: they included Mrs Wilson, Miss White, Major Senior, Mr Thomsett, Mr Anderson, Mr Shepherd, Mr Stringer, Mr Sexton, Mr Monte, Mr Francis, Mr Brookes, Mr Alan (gym instructor), and Reverend Samuel.

And, of course, Mrs Mills who ran the canteen. She was a hard-working lady who prepared school dinners on a small domestic stove and baked rock cakes in it. I don’t think I ever saw her without her apron.

She operated the tuck shop in the school cloakroom and introduced me to the wonders of chocolate covered Wagon Wheels and Smith’s crisps with little blue bags of salt inside.

I Remember ...

That Mr Alan (also known as Chief Petty Officer Alan) held gym classes and boxing in the church hall on the opposite side of Cranbrook Road. I also remember the clouds of dust that rose out of the rough coconut fibre mats that gave such vicious friction burns if you landed on them wrongly! Fred Shepherd taught choir practice in the same place but, wisely, not at the same time.

I Remember ...

Taking the 150 bus from school to Hainault playing fields for football and on to Chigwell Row for cross-country running which was another of Fred Shepherd’s specialities.

The tin baths. Ah, the tin baths. The rule in both locations stated that last one back home (to the changing rooms) got a tin bath of lukewarm water and mud residue left by the boys who were the first to get back, which meant that more than a few took short cuts on the running course, popping out from behind trees at different points all the way round.

I Remember ...

'Wait outside the Head Master’s office' was a very familiar expression that, too often, was aimed at me. It triggered the automatic response: 'It wasn’t me, sir' but it didn’t matter. We did as we were told and went upstairs and waited.

Hearing the creaking floor boards and foot steps from behind the Head Master’s closed office door. Sometimes I assumed that he was heading my way and my only escape was to go back down the stairs and hide in a toilet. But too often I wasn’t quick enough and I received my prescribed punishment.

I Remember ...

That we weren’t allowed to fraternize with girls from the schools around the corner – Clark’s girls on one side and Ursuline girls on the other.

That whilst a lunchtime stroll in Valentine’s Park was perfectly acceptable provided we wore our caps, it wasn’t acceptable to meet girls there. But being a prefect had its rewards and some unannounced privileges.

I Remember ...

My last day at school. I can still picture my school cap skimming across the boating lake in Valentine’s Park. I wonder if it is still lying at the bottom.

Peter Button


Ian Burns (Valentines 1940-1951)

I joined Clark’s Collegiate School, Ilford, at the age of 5 in 1940. I attended classes under difficult conditions then because the German Luftwaffe was constantly trying to bomb the Plessey Radar Factory in Ilford. It was quite a common occurrence to pick up books and resume classes in the basement, which acted as a shelter.

I left Clark’s in 1951, aged 16, to go first to the London School of Printing, and then on a spell of National Service. It was a sufficiently long gap for me to lose touch.

Among my friends I counted Tony Key, who lived in Rainham (now traced and joined OCA); and Peter James from Woodford (now traced and joined OCA).

I’m still looking for JOHN GILPIN, who lived in Barkingside; and TERRY HANDS, PETER MERRIT, and DAVID CAMBRIDGE.

Our Head Master was ‘Tazzie’ Taylor and I remember teachers Mr. Stringer, Mr. Norris, Miss Taylor and Mrs. Wilson.

Where are the rest of my class now?

Ian Burns


Anthony Clark (c1951 – 1954)

Just a few memories

My name is Anthony [Tony] Clark I was at Clark’s Ilford approx 1951 to53/54

Some very diverse memories. unfortunately I wasted my education there and really only learnt to write legibly. Something I had apparently been incapable of doing.

I remember being caned by the headmaster for walking three abreast in Cranbrook road eating ice cream in the road was also a deadly sin My art and religous teacher was Mrs. Wilson who awarded me 2% for art with the comment "appears to display little or no interest"

Going on the central line to Hainault on Wednesdays to play football and cricket. One time playing in goal and beating, I think, Putney 9-0 at halftime the rest of the team trying to get me to score a goal whereupon I was severely admonished for unsporting behaviour and promptly suspended for several games.

Also a cricket match where we were all out for 11. I think the game lasted about half an hour.

I remember my form teacher being a very sarcastic Mr Stringer, also a Mr Gribben a very strange English teacher who spent most of his time standing on one leg rather like a stork or perhaps a flamingo!

Also a P E teacher, I think his name was Baker, who spent all his time being totally exasperated that nobody could replicate the ball tricks he was showing us. He said he had played for Arsenal and QPR, something I think may be open to question.

I remember the cross country always being won by a Scots boy who didn’t train but was extremely fit as his hobby was Scottish dancing and we regarded this as a form of cheating. Ilford town hall and singing The Eton boating song which we had practised it seemed like forever which I still know

When I left the school I worked in Billingsgate delivering fish on a bicycle much to the obvious dismay and chagrin of my father. But I moved on to New Zealand and Australia, and eventually back to England

Married for 40 years one daughter with a 1st in English at Oxford so any academic pretensions I have are lived through her. Bit sad really I suppose. My wife died 6 years ago so I while away my time in Eastbourne working a couple of days reading, fishing, listening to blues and jazz.

I hope these random notes may have stirred up some memories for someone

Tony Clark


Clive J P Coe (1973-1975)

I attended Clark’s at Ilford during the year that it closed and I was transferred with a few others to Raphael’s in Romford for our final year.

I am a current member of the OCA and searching for fellow inmates who remember me.

Clive Coe


Roger Edward Cox

I think it might be appropriate if the Association placed a comment in the Memorial Book on the page with reference to Roger Cox who was murdered in Cyprus in 1956. I remember the Headmaster was extremely upset when the news reached the school as we all were having known him as a fellow pupil.

Mike Todd-Carr


Michael Dunn

It has been well observed that the whole point and purpose of the Old Clarkonian Association appears to be to meet people who seem to have aged so much more than we have; to have an excellent dinner; and to drink. Reprobates amongst us do it in reverse order. The Chairman’s role is to wear the Chain of Office, take wine with everyone under the sun, do his best to make a brief speech, respond to the Toast and thank his Maker if he isn’t booed out of the room.

We meet each year, many of us, to enjoy again the company of those with whom we mixed when we were much, oh, so much younger than we are now. Today we are relaxed and at ease but in our youth we competed with each other in all manner of ways. And we flirted with the delightful young ladies from Clark’s School for Girls, around the corner, or the Ursuline Convent School girls around the other corner. We reluctantly submitted to those who would have us read ‘proper’ literature rather than our ever popular Dandy, Beano, Eagle, and Health and Efficiency, and to those who would have us write eloquently with primitive dip-and-scratch pens in the then popular copper-plate style; to construct sentences which didn’t contain the phrases ‘you know what I mean’ and ‘sort of like’, and to stand up when a lady or anyone in authority over us entered the room.

Those days are gone but I believe that the fruits remain.

For me, the name Clark’s School for Boys, Ilford, is another way of talking about that period between 1953 and 1959, post-war years of change in the world which now, looking back, seem totally uncomplicated yet at the same time so full of changes and thoroughly difficult to understand. During that period we saw the opening of the M1, the very first motorway in this country, and we heard the birth of rock and roll fathered by Bill Haley and his Comets, and we knew everything, didn’t we?

I believe we had some unique teachers. Allegedly one of them, when filling out his application form for a job at the school, when answering the instruction: “Give two reasons for entering the teaching profession,” wrote: “July and August.”

For the most part teachers were not quite the same as some of their modern counterparts today. Many were back-home-from-the-war, out of work ex-army, navy and air force officers and they taught us in those military styles. I remember a Squadron Leader Skellon as Headmaster and teacher of handwriting, and a Petty Officer Allen as PT instructor (interestingly, not PE as it is today), an ex-paratrooper Sergeant Anderson as a geography teacher; an Indian Army Major Senior, although I can’t remember what he taught, and Mrs Ober Gruppen Fūhrer Wilson – possibly the only battleship in the Cranbrook Road in those days.

The name of our maths teacher escapes me – a physicist from Harwell Nuclear Research Establishment – but I suspect that is because his manner of teaching escaped me, too. I never did fathom the unfathomable questions in modern arithmetic, such as if one man can do a job in one hour, why does it take two men two hours? And when did they add letters to the numbers?

Some of us never really drank at the fountain of education – we just gargled and then went on into the big wide world to earn our living.

Gentlemen, Squadron Leader Skellon has flown away. Monsieur Sexton est mort. Major Senior has joined that great Curry Club in the sky, and the School is no more. But we have an Association of men with mostly good remembrances of the School even if not, these days, with very good memories. We have been influenced by those who taught us and, in turn, that has influenced the way we have walked in the world and taught others. It is the best way that I know of to show respect for them, and for our parents, who often made great sacrifices to send us to Clark’s College, and for ourselves, by showing that it was not a waste. Many today would envy us if they knew the details and we should be glad that they do.

Michael Dunn


Peter Maurice Edwards (1946-1950)

I attended the School between 1946-1950 during the time when Mr H R Taylor was the Headmaster. I recall teacher Mr Hewitt, who taught maths but liked to link the subject to submarines. He went on for hours. I remember that he had a habit of tapping his fingers on the desk all the time. Maybe he was rehearsing his drum movements because I believe he also had his own local band.

I remember STAN TELFER who was, I believe, part of that family well known for their pork pies, and JIMMY MANN, a son of the owner of Mann’s wholesale groceries based in Ilford. Both were excellent footballers.

Both DOUGLAS MANN and JAMES MANN have been traced and are members of OCA.

I remember Mr Norris, our gym instructor, complete with cream slacks, white shirt and white plimsolls, who was known to give any of us a good slap around the face if we didn’t join in! There was a French master whose name I can’t remember but he used me for target practice with his wooden black board eraser. I do recall that he was a damn good shot.

Are there any other fellow rogues out there who remember me?

Peter Edwards


Pascal Hiscott (1955-1960)

The Headmaster during my time was Mr J T C Skellon. His wife took me for elocution lessons, which I fondly referred to as ‘execution lessons’.

I remember Mr Shepherd, a teacher who journeyed to school on a motorcycle and side-car. He taught maths and once took a group of us Youth Hostelling in the Lake District.

Others I recall are Mr Jones who taught geography; Major Senior who took any lessons going free; and Mr Brooks who, I believe, taught science.

Mrs Wilson took art and threw my portrait in the bin when I thought it was really rather good.

Religious Knowledge was taught by ‘Holy Joe’ but what was his full name?

School lunches were everything that school food should be – absolutely disgusting!

Mr Skellon seemed to mistake the School quad for a military parade ground and held regular ‘square bashing’ exercises. He was also fond of handing out frequent beatings with his splayed canes!

Pascal Hiscott


Dennis Horne (1945-1949)

Thank you for your email requesting more information about my attendance at Clark's College.

Yes, I did attend he Ilford branch of Clark's College from 1945 to 1949. I lived in Park Avenue, the avenue alongside the college and, because I lived opposite the Girls' College, I was the only student allowed to enter Park Avenue. I was a College Prefect and I have a photo of the College Soccer Team in 1946 with me as the goalkeeper. I was also House Captain of Valentines House (Blue), Captain of the College Gymnastic Team, Captain of the College Swimming Team, a member of the College Cricket Team and was awarded full colours for sport. In 1947 I was made Captain of the College Soccer Team winning the Principal's Cup. We played soccer on the P.L.A. grounds at the top of The Drive.

Three very close friends of mine were Harvey Shepherd, Vicky Braybrook and Geoff Dawson, you may know of them.

My Class Master was Mr. Stringer, the P.T. Master was Mr. Norris and the Art Teacher was Mrs. White. The Headmaster was, of course, Mr. Taylor.

I hope that this information gives you something to go on. If you have any news of the three students I named above I should be very pleased. I have tried to track them down for some time now without success.


(We have been pleased to put Australian resident Dennis in touch with OCA member Victor Braybrook)

I cannot thank you enough for getting in touch with Victor Braybrook and passing on my email address. We are now corresponding regularly thanks to you.

Victor informs me that he has contacted Geoff Dawson and their two families are meeting for dinner soon. Victor also informed me that he has renewed his membership to the Old Clarkonians Association out of gratitude for your efforts in bringing us all together again. I, also, cannot thank you enough.

In your email to me you mentioned that the OCA will be celebrating its Ilford branch's 100 anniversary in May next year. Please send me all the details such as the actual date, the venue, the time and the cost and anything that I have to do to qualify to attend because I might fly over and join you all for the great occasion.

Vic mentioned that you were seeking some memorabelia information about us:

We must first have got to know each other around 1945. Under what circumstances I cannot remember. Vic might help here. We seemed to have lost contact in the 1960's until now. The 4 of us: Harvey Shepherd, Vic Braybrook, Geoff Dawson and I were known as the 4 Musketeers. At one stage we planned to all meet up together in the 1970's when we were located in the four corners of the world. Harvey was working in Mexico, Vic and Geoff were living in England and I was working in Australia. Unfortunately, the meeting never eventuated.

Harvey and I were sport and art buffs. We always vied for first place at art under Mrs. White and we were in most sports teams together. Harvey was a member of my soccer team under Mr. Vic Hewitt, I was captain, when we won the Principal's Cup against all other branches of Clark's College. I was also a College Prefect, Captain of the Gymnastic Team under Mr. Norris, Captain of the College Swimming Team and a member of the college cricket team. I was awarded Full Colours for sport. Harvey and I were also members of the Clark's College Athletic Relay Team winning the Essex Schools Relay Trophy.

Victor was the engineering buff and Geoff was the science buff.

I went on to study at London University for my Teacher's Certificate majoring in Physical Education and Biology with Distinction. Then on to Nottingham University to specialise in Physical Education with Distinction and finally, on to Loughborough where I was given an Honours award and Full Colours. After teaching for a few years I was invited to join the Central Council of Physical Recreation (C.C.P.R.) as a Technical Officer. The C.C.P.R. set up the British Sports Council of which the C.C.P.R. staff became the staff of the British Sports Council.

In 1970 I was invited to South Australia to take up the position of Assistant Director of the National Fitness Council. Many achievements were made during my time which would be too many to list here suffice to say that I received a commendation from the Cabinet and the Premier's Department of the South Australian Government for outstanding service. I am listed in "Who's Who in Australasia and the Pacific Nations" publication put out by Cambridge in England and I am also listed in the "International Book of Honour" 'depicting 500 of the most influential contemporary intellectuals of this ers' published by the American Biographical Institute.

Please send me the information on the OCA dinner next year and many thanks once again.

Dennis Horne


Patrick Kearney

I hate to say this, but the time at Clarks College was not my happiest, although I am at a loss to know why since by the law of averages there must have been good times as well as bad. My memory of Fred Shepherd is oddly distilled into a single incident, in which he lifted me by my ear from my chair and repeatedly hit me on the head with a large signet ring he wore. Curiously, though, I also remember him rather fondly for explaining to me personally the meaning of the word 'plausible.' Memory plays strange trick. Similarly with Mr. Skellon, who gave me six "of the best" as they used say for some trivial infraction involving an "away" football game. I fortunately planned ahead, and wore a pair of gym shorts underneath my trousers, thus taking the edge off the experience, but I still had bruises that were the subject of great mirth at home.

Coincidentally, I was reading an interview recently with David Bailey, the photographer, who was also at Clarks College around the same time, and his recollections were not dissimilar to my own.

Having said all that, I now seem to think that I must have been in St Chad's but I'm sorry to say that I can't be certain. I do know that whichever House I was in, I was always losing House Points at those wretched weekly meetings when the folding doors between the classrooms were pulled back, which did not endear me to my fellow House Members. It always seemed to be one of the women teachers pointing the finger and shouting out "lose two house points!" Very dispiriting.

As for sports, I never played any due to chronic asthma from which I suffered until my late teens. But I do remember going in for things like a handwriting competition sponsored by Boy's Own paper, and encouraged by the school. I seem to think I did quite well at that, even though my handwriting in general was the cause of several embarrassing points loss experiences.

I'd really like to know when I was a student at Clarks. It must have been around 1956 since that was the year the Judy Garland version of A Star is Born was released. I saw the film then, and was living on Dersingham Avenue, East Ham, and attending Clarks. I'd like to think I made some mark, if only as a slacker.

Patrick Kearney


Dennis Kershaw (1936-1940)

I remember Head Master ‘Tazzi’ Taylor and teacher Mr Norris, who was also our gym instructor.

I played for the School cricket team and soccer and I was in the annual cross country runs at Chigwell Row.

I served in the Royal Air force during World War II.

Dennis Kershaw


John Lelean

I am John Lelean, a pupil at Ilford during the war years (1942-45). Living at Leytonstone, I either cycled to school via Gants Hill, or took the bus from the Green Man.

I came back to London from Cornwall about 42-43, and came to Clark's, on the Cranbrook Road, just prior to the start of the doodle-bugs. A bit frightening at first, then everyone became complacent. If the engine stopped you dived for cover and put your hands over your ears! Later, when the V2 rockets started, the attitude was if you heard it explode, you were still alive!

I remember doing school certificate exams and being told to get under the desk if the warning siren sounded. Time under the desk was added on to the time allowed for the completion of the exam paper.

When I left school, and went to Walthamstow Tech, I joined the Old Boys cricket team, continuing on and off through three years military service, and then regularly when I went to work for the Daily Mail.

Unfortunately, the job then took me away to all parts of the country, and playing was spasmodic. After a short return period (married) to the London area, my cricket with the club finally finished in 1957.

I read that Alan Maylin will be at the dinner (2009). He and I used to take turns behind the stumps. Perhaps he will remember. Others I recall were Reggie Rush, Ken Cooper, Keith Lund, Peter Howard and his brother, and Ron Hope (a good friend who died very early in life).

I am still keeping up the sporting activities, this time with the golf clubs. Playing two or three times a week with a lot younger guys but still competitive. Not bad for (81) this year!

John Lelean

(Note : John had written this before we heard the sad news that Alan Maylin had died in hospital on 28th Jan. 2010)


Kai Peters     River House circa 1962 – 1966


Mr Fox-Simmons art and social history
I remember him bringing in portable gramophone with record of Peterloo massacre and the ensuing discussion.
His instructions on perspective and sharpening pencils
His tales of antiques and his stall on Portobello Road.
Sqd Leader Skellon
Ruled with complete discipline but had interesting stories when diverted.
Punishments included caning and copying a screed called "Paraffin Oil" to be completed in perfect copperplate on detention which did not finish till the tract was approved.
His wife taught elocution a struggle in east London!
'Bunny' Jones (I think) Science
Really pleasant teacher who sometimes found us a little challenging.
Remember the kitchen incident, the Lab was situated above the kitchen and someone had connected the water to the gas pipes via Bunsen burners pipe and flooded oven ruining the lunch meal for the day.
Major Senior Geography
A close thumbnail picture would be the major in Fawlty Towers portrayed by Ballard Berkley.
Numerous lectures on correct drill procedure I still remember the phrase 'your thumbs in line with the seam of your trousers when standing to attention.'
Col Dobbie Maths
Tales about his father on Malta during second world war.
Blackboard eraser around the head for inattention and talking in class.
The formula for sine remembered as silly old Hensman.
PE teacher Ex naval?
Gym in Methodist hall across the road very cold in winter and showers where back in main school.
Chair exercises or how to maim yourself for life in one awkward exercise.
British bulldog another maiming event.
Cricket and football Wednesday afternoons at Fairlop playing fields.
Played in second and occasionally first eleven for school medium pace bowler.
Attended Trevor Bailey's indoor cricket school (what a miserable moody character he was! We paid to be insulted!)
Cross country running as alternative to football at Essex Beagles hut by Retreat Pub which I opted for because it was near where I lived and I knew short cuts through Hainault Forest.
A Geography teacher name escapes me
Who had pet phrases such as Switzerland is the land of cuckoo clocks and Denmark the land of bicycles.
His classes where a free for all and he struggled to maintain order.
Eventually one morning he had what I can only assume was a nervous breakdown and went berserk in lesson and was taken away by some form of medical team never to be seen again.
We felt somewhat guilty for our part in his leaving rightly so!

I was in River house red stripe in tie. My brother Dennis two years younger was in St Chad's. Other pupils I remember Hensman, David Sluys, Black, David Giles, Christopher Neville, Christopher Percy, Alan Gray, Nicholas Forrest and Michael Blackshaw. There where others but I can't remember them at the moment without prompts. My peers would remember me as a shy bookish boy and not particularly outgoing one of my best friends being David Sluys who lived in Barkingside. I was not particularly athletic barring cricket which I enjoyed with a passion.

This all changed after leaving Clarks to become an Overseas Telegraphist in central London and following on to a telex department in a merchant bank, working for my father in family business and finally becoming a prison officer which I still am with 35 years service in.

In my leisure time I became a racing cyclist and used to do some 300 miles a week training plus racing at weekend in Essex and later in Somerset. I still ride the bike to work. I am an avid hill/mountain walker and canoeist which my peers would probably find hard to believe. I am happily married second time round and have two grown up girls from my first marriage with two lovely granddaughters.

I hope the above will jog a few memories as perusing your site has done for me, hope my English is up to standard.

Kai Peters.


Laurence Steele

The teacher I remember the most.

I must mention Mr. Montie who taught us English and European History 1815 -1914. He was the teacher who had the most beneficial effect upon myself. He instilled in me a love of history so that I still enjoy reading historical novels and cannot switch from a historical movie or documentary on TV even if I have seen it before. History was one of the very few “O” levels I achieved. I still remember the dates of the three parliamentry reform bills. Mr Montie was also a good football coach.

Another teacher I remember was Mr Anderson. He told us about how he and his wife escaped from Poland during the German invasion. He was a very good story teller

During the past twelve years I have had two heart by-pass operations. I believe the slippery road to heart disease started with cross country running through Hainault Forest. I used to run in company with Dennis Wilders. He carried a box of matches in his shorts and I carried the packet of five Weights untipped in my shorts. Half way through the run we would hide behind some bushes and light up. The sad thing is that despite this diversion we still managed to be with the leaders at the end of the race and I was in the school cross country running team. Of course being a heavy smoker for about thirty years and living in the land of snags, T bone steaks, Pavlova and cold beer has also contributed to my heart disease. I wonder where Wilders is these days?

From the Clark’s College website I have noticed considerable reverence to Mr. Skellon. I remember him mainly for caning me so often that in my last year at Clarkes it just didn’t seem to hurt any more. His parting words to me on my last day were, “ I will say this about you Steele you always took your punishment like a man.” I suspect that if I had stayed at Clarkes for another year I may have ended up a sado-masochist.

Every time I watch cricket on television I am reminded of Mr. Skellon. I remember being tested in the nets for the cricket team. His opinion was that I was unsuitable for the 1st eleven because I would not keep a straight bat (although I consistently hit the ball) and I bowled to aggressively. I prefer to think that I was way ahead of my time.

It is possible that Major Senior and myself may have set a school record. During a house meeting I was summoned to bend over in front of the other boys and receive punishment for some misdemeanor or other. As he hit me with a slipper I kept swaying forward which he reckoned lessened the impact. Each sway forward meant an extra whack with the slipper. Unfortunately I could not stop swaying so he kept whacking. The final score was about ten to twelve whacks.

After leaving Clark’s I worked for various London advertising agencies and have worked in advertising and promotion ever since. In 1968 I emigrated to Australia spending four weeks on an Italian owned passenger ship that had once been a American WW2 escort carrier . After spending two weeks in Freemantle/Perth (Hicksville - the pubs closed at 6pm) I caught the train (5 day trip) to Sydney which at that time reminded me of Romford. At the end of my last year at Clark’s I won three events at the annual athletics meeting. I took the three cups home and during the following year decided I had better return them.When I presented myself at the school and explained the reason for my visit I gained the impression for a few seconds that I was being treated with some considerable suspicion. Then it was explained to me that all of the sports trophies had recently been stolen and they assumed that the three I had were among them. Mr Skellon immediately phoned the trophy/ engravers and cancelled those which would have duplicated the ones I had returned. I think he briefly thought that I had stolen the lot and was only returning those that should have my name engraved on them.

What did I gain from Clarks College? I think Michael Dunn’s comment sums it up very well, “Some of us never really drank at the fountain of education – we just gargled and then went on into the big wide world to earn our living.”

Laurence Steele


Eric P. Sugden (Valentines 1935-1940)

I attended Clark’s College, Ilford, but in 1939 I was evacuated by the School to Ipswich. Two months later we were moved to Kettering to join other, similarly evacuated branches.

Eric P. Sugden


Frank Warriner

I feel that I should explain the circumstance in which I came to access your website. My wife and I have six grandchildren and my wife felt that they would appreciate it if I would put on paper my experiences as a schoolboy during the Second World War. I will soon be 80 years of age having been born on 28 January 1930 and I have been researching dates. All my secondary education took place in schools associated with Clark’s College and whilst on the web I came upon your site. I now wish that I had done this much earlier as I would like to join the old boys association.

At the outbreak of the Second World War I was 9 years old living with my parents in Leytonstone. I had been very ill in 1938 and accordingly had not been evacuated. My primary school was closing and my parents decided to send me to Clark’s College in Forest Gate where I went in 1940 and stayed there until it was badly damaged in a daylight bombing raid. I do not know the date although we had already been bombed out of our house in Leytonstone and were temporally living in Chadwell Heath from whence my Mother had walked to collect me. I do remember that the school had lost some of its doors and windows and the ceilings of some of the classrooms had fallen in. The school was closed and I was sent to Clark’s College in Romford, which I remember was being used as a selection premises for would be pilots and had a Link Trainer in one of the rooms. A short time later a more permanent house was found for in us Newbury Park. I was transferred to Clark’s Modern School for boys, Cranbrook Road, Ilford where I sat for my Junior and senior school certificate. I well remember having to sit in the cellar during exams whilst a raid was on and Mr Bloom, a teacher telling us not to talk to each other. At that time we were pestered with V1 “doodle bugs” and we had wardens on the roof of the school warning us if a doodle bug was coming too close.

I well remember Mr Taylor and his daughter (who despite her speech difficulty due to a cleft palate) acted as school secretary. I recall that on occasions when wasted food was found in the grounds, Mr Taylor would tell us how many merchant seamen had died recently bringing food to us over the Atlantic despite the presence of U boat packs. I also remember playing sports on the PLA Sports ground in the Drive.

I used to ride my bicycle down Coventry Road (where Mr Taylor and his daughter lived) on my way to school, seeing and hearing doodle bugs and their engines cutting out and exploding sending up a cloud of dust over north London.

The most dramatic incident was one lunch time when I was walking down Cranbrook Road approaching the station when a V2 rocket exploded by the side of the Super Cinema. I tried to help people who had been injured by flying glass, particularly a woman whose face was covered with blood. I led her to the Cinema where I remembered seats by the booking office but when I opened the door I was confronted by chaos and realised I could do little to help and ran home.

I gained my matriculation exemption and went on to obtain an external LLB from London University and then went on to qualify as a Solicitor.

As to my career I spent many years in practice with my wife, also a solicitor, 25 years as a part time Coroner, 6 years as a part time Chairman of Industrial Tribunals, 11 years as a Legal Chairman of the Pensions Appeal Tribunals of England and Wales and finally 5 years as Deputy President of that Tribunal.

Frank H Warriner


George Wooton

When I left Clarks in '41 I firstly worked for road transport company MacNamara. That was for the grand sum of 15/- per week. Westminster Bank offered a job at double that wage, but as road transport was protected by the Essential Works Order I had to appear before a tribunal. The City Road Tribunal decided, that after all Macs did not need me to win the war, so I won my case and joined the Bank.

In 1942 I volunteered for the RAF. By the time I was called up there were too many would be pilots in training, so I was offered the option of transferring to the Army or of training as an Air Gunner. I chose the latter and never regretted that choice. I trained in Egypt, crewed up in Palestine and joined 40 Squadron at Foggia in Italy. I took part in war operations to Yugoslavia, Austria, the Northern battlefields and finally to Bavaria on 25.4.1945. I finished flying in January 1946 and spent most of that year in Jerusalem at Air Headquarters Levant.

In 1947 I returned to the Bank and qualified as an Associate of the Institute. From branch banking I became involved with the staff training for the fist computers - circa 1962. After a couple of assistant management positions I became manager of Staines Branch in 1969, just at the right time for the build up of Heathrow. Throughout I was very lucky.

Sportswise, I rowed for the Bank (won Inter Bank Eights) and Staines Boat Club. I became President of Staines Regatta founded in 1931 I am still a member of Staines and Remenham Club.

I was also President of the Rotary Club of Staines. Also, a District Conference Chairman.

Retirement took me to Torquay. I am still a member of the Rotary Club of Torquay. Rowing and sailing were my lifetime sports and I had some great years of sailing around Torbay. Nowadays, I sail in calm waters with my eldest son who lives in Arendal, Norway.

I am a Past President of the Air Gunners of Torbay and S. Devon and as Archivist spend a good deal of time on research. This year (2008) I worked on a Blue Plaque project to commemorate and honour aircrew who initially trained at Torbay. Believe it or not for the unveiling I was joined by a lady who, as a girl of four, was below when I was above Freilassing, Bavaria in 1945.

George Wooton


Robert Walford (1963 - 1964)

I am writing to you as an ex-patriot now living in Melbourne; I understand from the OCA web site that you are the contact person with regard to Old Clarks now resident in Australia. Are there that many to have a separate officer set aside for matters antipodean ??

My special enquiry relates to the OCA Ilford AGM which from memory comes around about this time of year – I may be a week late but I am backing my memory of attending a couple of such events at the Thames–side hotel/motel in the mid 2000’s and they seemed to have fallen on or around the 19/20th. May. By the way I enjoyed the experiences enormously not to mention my luck with the evenings’ raffles. Too bad it was give away time for my family as luggage constraints limited what i could take home here to Melbourne.

My specific matter is that my apology be noted if I am indeed within time for the 2012 AGM. That is technically ' out of order ' as I am sure that I am currently unfinancial......but who cares! You can check my bona-fides with Paul King, a former OCA President, but no one else comes to mind from my vintage (seemingly very poor OCA members ).

To remedy my unfinancial status please forward the details as to how I might remedy this. In the past I have dealt by mail with Simon Botwright, a long time Hon. Sec. of OCA.

My Ilford Clarks details are as follows :

Name : Robert Walford ( prefer 'Bob' )

School years : 1957 to 1964

House : Valentine (House captain 1963/64)

Head Masters : Both JTC and OCS
teacher remembered as difficult - Mrs Wilson (without any equivocation)

Sporting moments : a soccer hat trick against Clarks Enfield, score 3-3, remaining three goals came from John Pratt, captain for the Spurs for a while, 9 - 27 against Clarks Romford at their ground, Havering-atte-Bower; did not win the bowling cup for that year not withstanding !

I hope a copy of this is received by Peter Button as well - good memories Peter as I was a 'junior' at the time you were, as I recall a Prefect, and your House was Chad.......hope I am right.

Bob Walford


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