Comments from Graham Johnson:
The 1974 entry could perhaps be considered the last from the 'middle years' of the school's history before new ideas began to take over.
This year the form photos were still properly organised though there wasn't one of the panoramic photos taken of the entire year. There certainly had been as late as two years previously and apparently there were in later years and I have a vague recollection that it was planned for our year but cancelled due to rain and never reorganised. If there was a second year photo then I must have been absent that day and when it came to the third year it was a disorganised farce. Individual and class photos were taken with no warning whatsoever. One moment we were in class, the next moment we were in the school hall.
Caps and berets were still compulsory at the start of the 1974-1975 school year but had gone by the end of it. Short trousers were still supposed to be a compulsory part of the uniform for the boys except for very tall pupils, but as can be seen even the very short ones (including all 4'6" of me at the bottom left) wore long trousers. Indeed there were perhaps only four or five boys in the whole year who started off wearing shorts. Shorts and trousers were supposed to be medium grey and the shoes black Gibsons, but charcoal grey trousers were favoured by most boys (though black was still not allowed) and it wasn't too long before almost any black shoes were acceptable, as long as they had laces (wedge soles and blakeys were particular crazes over the next three years).
I used to think this year was the last of eight form entry but it turns out to have been less straight forward than than a straight switch to nine forms. The first year classes were lettered R L H U D S O N and the second and third years A B S T M O Q R (I had written M N Q R but having come across a 3O I realised my memory was playing tricks). The following year the first year went to nine form entry and had the letters Y O U N G E S T C (I can't recall what letters they used as they moved up into the second year). However a Speech Day programme from a few years later shows awards to just eight forms in the first and second year (the first year forms being being Y O U N G E S T and second year forms being a familiar sounding A B G L X Y S T) but the third year had ten forms (A B G L X Y Z W S T). Looking at the school rolls suggests consistent nine form entry probably didn't kick in until the 1990s.
It was also the last year where only boys did woodwork and metalwork and only the girls did cookery and needlework. In fact with only Mr Treble doing woodwork,and Mr Dunlop metalwork, there was no woodwork teacher available for 1R boys who were basically left to rot for a double period each week in something they liked to call 'Arts & Crafts' but really wasn't thought through at all. Unrepeatable rumours told of a former woodwork teacher whose name was never mentioned and who was only known as 'El Cid'.
The top two forms in the year dropped woodwork in favour of Latin after one year, and then metalwork in favour of German in the third year. This may have been the last year this happened but I am not quite sure (Latin continued to be taught regardless). The Latin teacher was originally Mr Milligan (known as 'Spike'), a small, wizened, scholarly man with a bite that betrayed appearances. He was then replaced for a short while by Mr Moses before Mr Kevill started coming down from the Upper School. Mr Milligan taught a Classical pronunciation system (-ae = "eye", -i = "e") and I'd hazard a guess that Mr Moses did the same as he didn't seem to correct us (though as I didn't really understand him that well even when he was speaking English it is hard to say). The first time Mr Kevill heard the class speaking Latin he looked totally bemused and puzzled as to how we couldn't even get the basics right. The reason was that he taught the English Method (-ae = "e", -i = "eye") but he never explained this and we just had to adapt as if we had been wrong. In the short time we had Mr Moses he called some of the tenses strange things I'd never heard before. Probably very sensible things. Perhaps if I'd been taught English Grammar I'd know what they were but in fourteen years at school proper English Grammar was only something picked up in passing (readers may notice I'm still not terribly good at it!).
Although the odd 'trendy' teacher joined the school over the years I was lucky enough to avoid them all through my school career and teachers were still generally seen as authority figures. Some were firm, some were very firm, others were downright scary and firm (like Mr Povey, head of science in the Lower School and scourge of the dinner queues) but generally they were also fair.
Mr McLeay was certainly a model headmaster in my book and Mr Sharp was excellent as whatever it was that he was (I forget the title but Dean of Boys is the type of thing). He also taught History. In summer he seemed to feel the heat as he used to take the class with a shirt unbuttoned down nearly to his waist. Fortunately he wore a vest. I'll swear when he was teaching us about somewhere like South Africa he seemed to repeat the same lesson about four times.
Reading past ECSOSA newsletters certain names from older times seem to feature a lot and one or two of them were still around. Miss Staples was the acting head of the school and she took Lower School assembly once a week but once Mr Hulley took over she wasn't really seen again. 1R were positioned right at the front of the hall in assembly and from our vantage point it always seemed she was on tip-toe at the lectern. Mr Long was also still about in the Upper School and was encountered at the Railway Club, where the fully extended layout wheeled out for Open Days featured extra base boards that were nicknamed the 'Jack Long curves'. Apparently trains tended to derail using them. (My brother, being two years older, had Jack Long as Senior Master in the Upper School. The way he said 'I have found a Yale type key' was a particular source of amusement and apparently boys used to deliberately 'lose' them just so they could hear him say it).
An interesting fact about the class is that six of us came from Galliard Junior School. Back then pupils from Galliard could automatically get a place at Edmonton County. Of the approximately seventy pupils (classes were bigger then) I can think of three who went to Latymer (I wasn't interested but would likely have got in there easily enough), three to Kingsmead and one to, I think, St Ignatius and I can't immediately think of any others though there might perhaps have been two or three. So that is probably around sixty pupils moving up to County. Move on thirty years to 2004 and there were fifty-nine pupils moving up from Galliard and only eight went to Edmonton County.
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