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1950's Prospectus

Gordon Wilmot (1945 to 1949)

I was a pupil at the Leicester franchise of Clark's College from about 1945 to 1949. The head master was Mr. Alfred Cox, a real martinet. He used to wear a morning suite, and would stalk around the school wearing an academic robe. I suppose it made him feel important. He was only about 5 ft 2 in, but what he lacked in height he made up in the way he could swing a cane. In those days, corporal punishment was part of school life. Unfortunately the staff found him difficult to get on with consequently the good teachers left all too soon. He started his career in teaching after the first world war. The Germans had kept some officers vegetating, and he got the job of rehabilitating them.

Some of the better teachers were:- Mr. Thomas , maths; Mr. Gardener physics; Mrs. Corbett, history.

The worst I think was a Mr. Canning who took us for English literature. We were studying Mc Beth at the time. There was a tall country lad named Duncan, and every time Mr. Canning was giving out parts, he had to say "Duncan Duncan" with a stupid smile on his face, which bought a titter from the class. His method of teaching the subject was to make us copy the list of anachronisms from the back of the book. There was no analysis of the characters, because he did not know how to do it. His main tool of trade was sarcasm.

Another teacher was "Docker" Davis. I cannot remember what he took us for. He got the name because he always came to class smoking and would dock his cigarette on entering. He had a degree in psychiatry, and was an intelligence officer in the RAF interrogating German prisoners of war. He later became head master at another Clark's College. Perhaps some other students may know of him.

I cannot say that the level of teaching was of a very high standard. There was no tutoring to get us through the leaving exams. We never worked through any old exam papers and never did any mock exams. I remember having to finish reading Nicholas Nickelby, by myself just a few days before the exam. Consequently none of the class passed their leaving certificate.

On emigrating to Australia with my parents, I took the leaving certificate part time in Adelaide. I was amazed at the difference in the level of teaching. The teachers were very dedicated and really knew their subjects.

With the leaving certificate completed, I was able to enroll at the University of Adelaide for the degree in Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering, and later at the University of South Australia for the Post Graduate Diploma in Mathematics, so in spite of my poor education at the Leicester franchise of Clark's College, I have proved to be an excellent student.

Gordon Wilmot


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