MICHAEL JONES PEN PICTURE
Years at the Tech 1951 - 1956
Favourite Teacher(s) Ray Jones, Joe Cannon, Jack Leyshon
Favourite Subject(s) Woodwork, French, Sports
A school memory Never be late. Bill Hayman and his Cane
Occupation(s) Post Office ,Field Sales Manager, Chauffeur Company Founder
Places lived Bath, Somerset
Hobbies & Interests Golf, Garden, Wildlife, Motorcycling
Notable Achievement(s) Joined SONY in 1979 and Promoted the launch of Home Video
I passed the Eleven Plus and selected The Bath Technical School from the choices, but we were not well off and I always wanted a School Blazer with the then bright red badge on the top pocket, just like the posh boys, but I never got one. I did get a cap though. It was a happy time for me as I did enjoy school life. I am a practical person and learned many things which served me very well throughout my life as I bought an Old Victorian house when we were married in 1966 which needed lots of upgrading. So I was able to do many jobs due to my excellent school training. I am not particularly academic but all things considered I did OK. My father was very Victorian and took me away from school to get a job before I took any exams, much to the annoyance of Mr Nicholas the Head at Weymouth House
LIFE AFTER THE TECH
I went into an engineering company in Bath which is still there, making aircraft parts, but factory life was not for me and I left after a year to pursue a career in The Post Office.
I stayed at the Post Office for around 10 years but I began to realise it was a Dead Man's Shoes job, and as I am a Leo, my personality suited the Field Sales world better. So I joined Rowntrees the confectionery company, and was fully trained in what was known as FMCG. But the food trade is quite boring and I wanted more challenge and excitement, and so I left and was Lucky to join SONY mainly for the Launch of Home Video BETAMAX. It was a big step up for me as they were the F1 company at the time, and it was the best job in world, lots of salary and unlimited expenses - Austin Reed suits, Hampers at Christmas, etc. the absolute works - and to top it off we drove Ford Capri's and I had a Red One (Starsky and Hutch White Stripe Down the Side). Time passed and SONY wanted me move to Wales as my surname was relevant to that part of the UK. It was not to be, as NEC, another Japanese Company, were looking for sales executives to promote the launch of Satellite in the Consumer Market It was a another step up, and so I joined them and we worked hard to launch their Rolls Royce type system into the Market. In the end they decided that SKY were favouring cheaper products to speed up the launch like AMSTRAD and were all made redundant. Well, I am a firm believer in its 'Not What you Know' its 'Who you Know' and through contacts, I got into PHILIPS for the Launch of Widescreen TV. They were a bit of a Headless Giant, but I needed a job.. It was a bit Civil Servanty - lots of old fashioned paper work systems, but very easy to work with. They decided to reduce the Sales Force for economy reasons and I was made redundant again after 7 years. I then joined Thomson, a French Company who had the bottom end, Ferguson brand but it was going nowhere and I was made redundant again after 2 years. As I live in a tourist city, Bath I decided to capitalise on my experiences and start a chauffeur company. I bought a big Silver E Class Mercedes and drove rich and famous people to airports, weddings, tours, sports events etc. Together, with many regular clients, I could write a book about my experiences. It ran for 20 years very successfully and I retired in 2017 after working for 62 years, non stop, never sacked, but had three redundancies. The Bath Technical School prepared me very well for a good and happy life. I am 81 and very proud to have been a pupil there.
Teachers names remembered, Jack Nicholas(Headmaster), John “Bill” Hayman(Deputy Head), Joe Cannon, Pat “Killer” Keating, Ray Jones, Bill Minty, Harry Mower, Bevers Lloyd, Gummy “Pop” Freeman, Harry Alvis, Jack Leyshon, Harry Edwards, Jack Cosnett, Bill Clayton, Wally Hammond, Harry Stennett, Dickie Harbour, Keith “Jammy” James, Stanley Hingeley, “Major” Ken Webb, Ken Box, Peter Coard, Richard Minikin, Gareth Prythech, Roy Kinghorn, “Noddy” Hamblin, Secretary Joy Yeoman.
Apart from Glasshouse, these sites were reached by walking, a favourite route being along the riverbank.
Remember sitting next to Roger Hillman, we still currently meet up and Dave Cook, Mike Williams, Dave O’Brien, nickname ‘Flan’, Ken Norris and Roy Knight, nickname ‘Nifty’.
Toilets at Weymouth House were a single low block across the playground with doors at either end and the wind would whistle through like a wind tunnel, during the winter it was freezing.
One of the walls had a hinge remaining of the old South Gate as the back wall was part of the old city wall.
To the right was a builder’s yard and further to the right was the Evans original fish and chip shop, a very low ceiling shop and you walked down a couple of steps to enter.
Playing rugby at the Glasshouse on a freezing cold day, out on the right wing never seeing the ball, I returned to the dressing room and came back wearing my duffel coat. The referee was Jack Leyshon, when he saw me he chased me back to the dressing room hitting my backside all the way with a short stick he used to carry. On my return he told the team to get the ball out to the wing, I scored two tries that day.
To get to the Glasshouse we were issued with a 2d bus ticket, or ride our bikes, pushing them up Holloway a gentle ride across the Bear Flat and then another push up Entry Hill.
I was in Gainsborough House for games and we wore green, which still remains a favourite colour of mine.
Saturday morning football games against other schools were played at the Glasshouse. I was never good enough to make the team, but travelled as reserve. When we were home, I would make the tea in the Civil Defence hut, now demolished, the building was behind The Cross Keys.
I never liked rugby or cricket when at school, so never got involved in those, other than during games periods.
Remember one house cricket game. I hit the ball pretty hard at Brian Higgs, catching him in the midriff, as he doubled up in pain the ball fell into his clutching hands. To this day I remember it as a fluky catch.
Bryan Enfield’s the English teacher punishment in class was “boy stand on desk with left trouser leg rolled up” and then he would smack us across the thigh.
Joe Cannon used to issue airplane pictures for good work.
Ray Jones gave “DA” haircuts in woodwork classes he had a boat at Saltford and certain boys were invited along, fortunately never me! Although we were all under age, he used to take us on trips to Wills Tobacco Factory in Bristol. He was a first class organist at Bath Abbey.
Remember being sent out of French and told to report to Bill Hayman. I knew what that meant so when I got to the ground floor I didn’t go in to his room. Following day I passed him on the stairs and he said “Mitchell I thought you had to come and see me yesterday”, I replied “I did sir, I looked at you through the window he replied “report to me after school”. Again I knew what that meant, I was right, I was caned across the backside. The following day he asked if I had told my mother I replied “no, because I know I would have received more punishment”, he replied “I didn’t think you would”.
Cross country from Glasshouse was to run as little as possible by finding as many short cuts as possible. One day when in Midford Lane we were confronted by an adder, so we threw stones at it until eventually we managed to sever its head. On these short cuts we were often caught by Harry Mower on his scooter. I met Harry at the funeral of Ivan Whipp on 13th March 2006 and reminded him of this story, he could remember that and we had a good laugh together.
Often called upon by Harry Edward’s to run errands to fetch his polo mints and as he stuttered it went something like this “ boy boy get get me some some polo polo mint mints”. We used the gym at the Bath Technical College in Beau Street, he would always carry a plimsoll to inflict discipline on your backside.
School dinners were served in the basement of St Johns Place behind the Theatre Royal. Mrs. White was in charge, Linda, wife of Frank White, mother of Chris, she was a lovely lady but died prematurely. The dinners came in large aluminum containers after being prepared at the central kitchen in Avon Street. The building became the Robins Cinema and is now closed, it is part of the Theatre Royal, the Egg, a small theatre and café.
A science teacher called Roy Kinghorn would carry a hammer in class by its head so that he could enforce discipline by the shaft with a whack on the head. That was my memory, school reunion friends believe it was a crowbar, but Ken Shearn agrees with my memory.
“Gummy” Freeman would talk all through religious instruction about his beloved Portsmouth Football Club.
Rod Weiss was a bully.
Large Keith Jones threw a big handful of stone dust into my eye, during a brickwork and masonry lesson, I hated that subject. Still see Keith when we are skittling in the Charmbury Arms and he worked with Ken at Bath Press.
Harry “Stan” Stennett used to take us up to the Kennet and Avon canal to net tadpoles and water boatmen. He also used to keep an adder in a glass case in the classroom. He was a football league referee. He also on the first floor, set up a bee hive in the window, sealed on the inside. Bees could be seen from the outside swarming in and out, the project was cancelled when a member of the public became very concerned over these swarming bees. Harry reminded me of this story on school reunion 22 February 2003.
Remember Jammy James one day marking Ken Shearn’s geography homework at the front of the class. As he turned the pages he said out loud, “detention”, “detention”, at every turn. Ken ended up with about five detentions. Ken and I used to meet at the sandpits and play football with others on the top of the park. Met Ken in November 2008 and recalls the detention story and we shared a good laugh, also said about our shared March birthdays with Roger Hillman, Ken the 1st, Roger the 7th, me the 30th. Went on to say that he remembers the three of us writing away for football programs, Ken to Sunderland, Roger to Cardiff and me to Newcastle.
Going to Brougham Hayes for physics, as Roger Hillman and I did not like physics we used the excuse to arrive late as walking from Bath, Bevers Lloyd would stand behind the door and whack us round the back of the head for being late. Which was very often, taking advantage of the walk from Weymouth House city centre site to the satellite sites for being late was a top excuse.
Going to music at St James’s Hall was a laugh. Stanley Hingeley was not a strong teacher and a near riot used to take place. One day Jammy James hid in the balcony and watched for the culprits, it was generally quiet after that.
English with Bryan Enfield was held in the green room at St. James’s Hall, a dark and dinghy room in the basement.
Remember Mike “Jim” Williams being selected to play rugby for England schoolboys. We travelled to watch him play against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.
While walking between sites we passed many shops. A good sweet shop in Lower Borough Walls, where you could buy packets of broken crisps, they were very greasy. Two excellent sweet shops in Brougham Hayes and a nice cake shop in Dorset Street called the Golden Crust. Then the excellent fish and chip shop at the bottom of Brougham Hayes.
On the subject of shops, can remember Woolworth’s in Stall Street, now HMV. Here Peter Jackson would just sweep a selection of chocolates into his satchel every lunch hour. He always had a Mars bar to sale in the afternoon.
Remember watching the exhumation of skeletons from St. James’s Church, prior to re-burial at Haycombe Cemetery.
Outside the derelict St. James’s Church, people would stand on a soap box and preach. One of these was a very tall guy with flat cap who was quite weird and preached communism, we called him Commie Joe.
Spears slaughter house was just over the road in New Orchard Street and every morning you would hear the pigs squeal as they went in to be killed. Their shop was at the front in Southgate Street.
Another sound was very much more pleasant it was the bells of Bath Abbey playing hymns and tunes soon after we had started morning lessons.
In the seventies, when my own children were going through the comprehensive system, I bumped into Pat "Killer" Keating. I made the statement to him that the teachers of the day were not as committed as those in the fifties. His reply was that teachers had been through the service of war and on their demob, they wanted to teach, although they were well qualified for other careers.
Bill Hayman always said on a regular basis to pupils, “boys, remember your schooldays, they are the best years of your life”. I can say at the time I could never agree with that statement. But as you grow older and the responsibilities you take on with families and work, I now know what he means, yes, they were good days.
Pupils remembered, Roger Hillman, Mike Williams, Dave Cook, Roy Knight, Dave O’Brien, Ken Norris, we shared the same birthday, Garth Southard, Rod Weiss, Alan Gay, Keith Fullager, Stuart Matthews, Mike Curling, Roger Haskins, Brian Higgs, Tony Madden, Graham Pearce, Gilbert Pike, Sawyers twins, David and Hugh, Brian Cole, Chris Smith, two Keith Jones, little and large, Alan Jones, Tony Jones, Gordon Jennings, Dave Arkell, Ken Shearn, Colin Kingston, Graham Swift, Peter Jackson, Andrew Brown-Jackson, Robin White, Derek Brain, Graham Harris, David “Baggy” Atkins, Terry Morse, Paul Tozer, Pete Humphrey, Keith “Teat” Jefferies, Rod Slade.
Memory of Derek was that he used to sit at the front of the class with Roger Hillman and put his damaged finger up his nose, it would appear if though half his finger was halfway up the nose. Derek lost the top of his finger in a Metalwork class taken by Bill Minty, who was showing the cog wheel arrangement on a lathe and Derek got his finger to close and had to have the top of his finger amputated. When healed he would put his finger up the nose stunt much to the amusements of his class mates.
Then I left school to start work I did not achieve the results in the final exams that I had hoped for. I still have my school reports and they reflect my potential, but in an exam situation I would just freeze and I only succeeded in passing two GCE’s, although I passed a third later. An example of my nerves was in French, I completely froze and only put my name on the exam paper.
Two school photographs of the whole school were taken in 1955 and 1957, both in my photo collection. This is a section from the complete 1957 photo and I can be seen second row down fourth from right, Graham Pearce on my left. In the top row seven from right Stuart Matthews, six Paul Tozer, four Ken Shearn, three David Sawyers, two Dave Arkell. Second row down on far left is Doug Hayward with Keith Watkins next. Fifth row down and second left, Tony Butcher son of Edgar Butcher who worked at SWGB.
The rear of the old Evans Fish and Chip shop can be seen in the background.