Richard Lanham - 1961 to 1966
When I joined in Sept 1961
We had the lovely Mrs Williams (English), Killer Keating with Jimmy his trusty stick and tales of BODMAS (I still can't remember what it meant) Joe Cannon (French), John Pappin (Geog), Mrs Wynn (History), Peter Coard (Art) Ray Jones (Woodwork), Des Cosnett (Metalwork), Harry Mower (Tech.Drawing) Jack Leyshon, Jimmy Edwards and John Pappin for Games. I also remember Bevvers Lloyd, Stan Stennett, Jammy James, Sammy Seal, Mousey Mahler, Henry Alvis, Spider Webb and I vaguely remember a Mr Ault but what he taught I can't remember. Reading all the other comments on these pages have really brought back memories!
Doug Humphries 1961 - 69
DOUG HUMPHRIES - PEN PICTURE
Years at the Tech: 1961 – 69 (including an extra year to repeat my A Levels)
Favourite Teacher(s): Bill Hayman, firm but fair.
Favourite Subject(s): Geography, Maths, PE
A School Memory: Being caned by Naylor for truanting after the ‘O’ Level exams.
Occupation(s): Geography & PE teacher to Acting Head in Secondary education
Places lived: Odd Down Bath, Swansea (University) Weymouth, Thame.
Hobbies & Interests: Rugby, Golf, Cribbage, Wine/Whisky tasting, Tending to my Allotment, Travel
Notable Achievement(s): Playing rugby until I was 65
“Allcock, Ashton, Blunden, Buck, Cousins ..” were the names starting that twice daily ritual called Registration. I waited for my turn as “Everett, Fathers, Francis, Gale, Gillett” led to my entry, followed by the “James, Jones, Maher, Minton, etc.” With this being repeated for five years it is no wonder that I can still quote most of my classmates’ names. How about you?
However, I started a little nervously in September 1961 as most of my friends from Fosseway went to the Grammar School (CBBS). Only Terry Nicholas joined me. My mate’s elder twin brothers were already at the Tech, as was my cousin Trevor Watts from Keynsham. This gave me some reassurance that there were some guardian angels who might be looking out for me if I lost my way.
Mousey Mahler, a slight German teacher, was our form tutor who lacked class control. I recall some three years later that a fairly big lad, Malcom Ham, went up to him at the end of a German lesson and slapped him lightly around the head. Mahler shouted, “What do you think you are doing, boy?” He replied mischievously, “I am an Editor, Sir” (Boom boom!)
He was duly sent for a caning – an experience which I encountered later in my school career!
I was actually keen to learn German because I enjoyed reading the comic strip war stories in the Eagle and the Victor with the “Achtungs”, “Ja, mein Herr”, “Schiessen” etc. and wanted to know more of the language. Mahler taught our class for the full five years and I was one of only three who actually passed at ‘O’ Level!
Graham Fathers and I were the smallest in the 1st Year and were often bounced between older pupils and we tried to walk along the corridor between the two quads to get to the Gym changing rooms, toilets or lunch queue. I ended up being the only one in the 3rd Year wearing short trousers – some claim to fame! Talking of lunch queues, do you remember the school dinners? Bangers and mash, Liver and onions, semolina and prunes, jam and coconut sponge with custard, roly poly pudding etc, - and you got seconds if you were lucky. We must have been the only school to have our dinners on the school stage
In the 2nd Year, Mike Williams, a Chemistry teacher, was our Form Tutor. His wife took us for English. She was inclined to wear low cut blouses, so someone (was it Rich Lanham?) would try to knock her chalk, or a book onto the floor so that she was obliged to bend over to pick it up and bring a flush to our cheeks!!
Bullying didn’t become a big issue for me. I was a fairly fast runner, and with my next door neighbour being captain of Combe Down RFC, I was encouraged to play rugby and ended up as scrum half in the school team. This kept the bullies away as I had some big friends with people like Johnny Moore around. Then in 1964 (our 4th Year) the RFU changed the laws so that flankers could not break their binding and follow the ball to the back of the scrum. This gave the scrum halves more time, so bigger, and possibly slower players were brought in and I was dropped. So I played football until the 6th Form when I was reinstated, as a number of players had left school by then.
Little did I know then how big a part rugby would play in my life, broadening my horizons through rugby tours home and abroad, and establishing lifelong friendships. While in the Sixth Form Harry Edwards got me into the Bath Schools and Somerset Schools Teams. Or maybe I did! The former toured France (Pau and Tarbe) in 1967 and Germany (Brunswick, Hamburg and West Berlin) in 1968. Whilst in Hamburg, a walk down the Reeperbahn was quite an eye opener (or fly opener!!) for a naive seventeen year old.
The daily walks from the Bear Flat bus stop were later extended when local creatures called girls from CBGS were befriended and we used to meet them at Noad’s Corner, Odd Down and walk down Bloomfield Road to get to our schools. The bus fare I saved added 6p each dry day to my pocket money, so I could afford to buy singles or EPs. Remember them? A bonus of our Games lessons at the Glasshouse Playing fields was that I could walk home, as I lived just behind Fosseway School – so another 6p bus fare saved for the coffers.
One ad hoc memory comes from a Physics lesson with Dickie Harbour when he chose my head to demonstrate the impact of the Van de Graf machine to give me a hair raising experience due to the transfer of the static electricity generated.
In Year 4 we chose our ‘O’ Level options and the Form Groups changed accordingly. Tim Giles joined 4X and we became good friends. His dad was the Catering Manager at the Pump Rooms and one of his responsibilities was managing the soft drinks on offer at the Pavilion for the Monday night Pop group performances. Tim and I were duly employed to sell cokes and go around collecting up all the empty bottles to prevent them being broken. Then during the interval one of us would go back stage and take a crate of cokes for the performers - and use this opportunity to get their autographs. I was fortunate enough to see every pop group/star of the 1964-66 period, except the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
I did ‘O’ level Woodwork taught by Ray Jones, and like most boys, I was concerned about his sexuality. I used to do some paid, weekend gardening for an elderly couple at the top of Wellsway. Somehow this came up in conversion and Ray asked me if I would do some work for him on a Friday evening where he lived on the Bear Flat. Quick as a flash I replied that my mate, Beaver Bale from CBBS was also looking for a job – so he took us both on. My fears were somewhat allayed as nothing untoward happened. He struck me as a lonely old man who enjoyed some company, especially as his mother, with whom he lived, had passed away a few years earlier. Yes, he was tactile, touching the shoulder and also used ‘teenage innuendo’ but nothing which could have been construed as grooming or abuse.
I was so relieved to get the ‘O’ Level exams out of the way, then we had to attend pre ‘A’ level lessons. The classes were only half full, so I took a day off and went to CBBS to play tennis with friends as they didn’t have such lessons. Just my luck that Fred Naylor called on the Educational Welfare Officer to check out the absences with home visits. On my return to school the next day I received six of the best from Fred for my misdemeanours.
Geography, Maths and Economics awaited me in the 6th form, with Jack Lyshon’s tales about the South Wales miners and steel workers dominating his lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed the numerical challenges and ‘puzzles’ set up in Bill Hayman’s lessons. I felt so sorry for Jammy James who spent ages chalking up coloured maps of the UK etc, only for them to be demolished in seconds by the blackboard rubber.
Fred Naylor introduced us to Cybernetics as part of our General Studies lessons. He was probably ahead of the game with his Binary Numbers and early computer programming language
I dreaded Killer Keating’s Friday afternoon Public Speaking and Debating sessions. When my turn came around I had to give a talk on Japan. I just stood upright, went bright red and talked so fast that no one could understand me – but it was over in two minutes!!
I was expected to get reasonable grades at ‘A’ level with either a job in the National Provincial Bank or a place at University to study Geography. With Maths Paper 1 (Pure Maths), we had to answer eight questions in three hours. I spent one hour trying to solve the question on Quadratic Equations, so ran out of time to complete the other seven. The low grade achieved in Maths resulted in my repeating the Upper 6th to get the grade required for University. By then I had decided to follow a career in teaching rather than banking.
It was strange at first, studying with lads who were mostly a year younger, and I befriended those who I knew from the rugby team like Len Muir. I felt sad that I had lost contact with friends, like Tim Ealey, who had gone on to university as they had developed different interests and I was merely a school boy. Some of my neighbourhood friends and those from the Bath Schools Rugby team were also repeating the Upper 6th at CBBS and I socialised more with them out of school and we became lifelong friends and now, in retirement, we meet up once a year for walking holidays. I used to play rugby for the school on Saturday mornings, then play scrum half for Combe Down in the afternoon along with Roger Hillman at No 8, an ex Tech pupil from a few years before me.
Whilst in the Sixth Form I got a part time job at the Rockery Tea Gardens at Combe Down. This helped to pay for frequent visits to the Packhorse, Southstoke, enjoying the cider and playing Shove Ha’penny, or to the Folk Club at the Ring ‘O’ Bells at Widcombe.
Second time around, I was successful in getting the B grade I needed for Maths ‘A’ level and so I went off to Swansea University to study Geography for three years followed by a one year PGCE/ Teacher Training Certificate. My rugby capabilities were more of an asset to me there than my intellectual capabilities. Here I bumped into ex Tech student, Steve Duckett who was a year or two younger than me….. and that was the last contact I had with anyone from the Tech until the mid 1990s when Friends Reunited hit our computer screens and led to meeting up with Len Muir and a Reunion in 2002 of Form 5X from 1966.
LIFE AFTER THE TECH - READ MY STORY
RICHARD BLUNDEN 1961-68
RICHARD BLUNDEN PEN PICTURE
Years at the Tech 1961-68
Favourite Teacher(s) Bill Hayman, ‘Killer’ Keating, Wally Hammond
Favourite Subject(s) Maths, Geography
A school memory Numerous journeys to school by train from Trowbridge, some teachers imbued a love of their subject.
Occupation(s) Banking 25 yrs, GP Practice Manager 12yrs
Places lived Trowbridge, Swindon, Romford, Frome, Salisbury, Exeter, Honiton, Barnstaple, Leigh on Mendip, Westbury.
Hobbies & Interests Railways, Buses, photography, volunteering
Notable Achievement(s) Banking degree, Married to Val 48 years, 2 children, 2 grandchildren, 2 careers, a few grey hairs!
Gamesmaker at London 2012, Clydesider at Glasgow 2014.
I chose to go to Bath Tech as it meant travelling to school by train from Trowbridge and I had 2 good friends already at the school. David Lowe and his brother Eric. I came to an interview with Mr Nicholas and remember talking about model making.
On my first day when we were being sent to our groups, I sat next to Paul Lye, distinctive and memorable for his blond hair! Then in my group I was alphabetically between Patrick Ashton and Geoff Buck and sat next to Geoff.
I have lots of school memories because, essentially, I really enjoyed school. I liked Maths and Geography and I learnt enough German that in adulthood I was quite comfortable to holiday independently in Germany.
For my first 2 years I travelled from Trowbridge to Oldfield Park but for my 3rd year my parents moved to Cheltenham as my Dad was training to be a teacher and he arranged for me to stay in Bath. From September to February I stayed with a little old lady in Bathampton and from February to July I stayed with Patrick Ashton’s family in Newbridge Hill. Patrick was one of 6 and his mum said one more would make no difference!!
From the 4th year I travelled every day from Swindon making very long days as, after the Beeching cuts, my train home was 1730 from Bath Spa and then I had 25 minutes bike ride home from the station. I did most of my homework in the school library. In the 6thForm I was the school projectionist showing films twice a week.
I look back and the subjects I did well were subjects where I liked the teacher, Keating, Hammond and Hayman for Maths, Keating, Mrs Williams and Major Webb for English, Jimmy James, Pappin, Dai Alvis for Geography. Ray Jones was very patient with me and I liked woodwork and carpentry and that has been very useful in developing skills in DIY through owning 7 houses in my lifetime.
Even though it was a long school day, I passed 8 GCEs and then 2 A levels but regret making bad A level choices. I chose Maths, Geography and Economics when the 3rd subject should have been Physics and then I’m sure I would have understood the Applied Maths and got a better pass overall, but that’s life. I think Jack Leyshon was a waste of time, a committed left wing socialist but not a teacher.
I didn’t like PE or rugby, mainly because I wore specs which made the latter very difficult and I just wasn’t very good at vaults and weight training was just hard work, not enjoyment.
At A levels I felt I had reached my academic limit and didn’t want to go to university which was very much frowned upon by Naylor and the senior teachers, but Wally Hammond took me under his wing and could appreciate my desire to get out and earn. I had a Saturday job for a couple of years and had paid for my own driving lessons and was the first in my year to pass a driving test. I have never regretted not going to university but should have studied for my banking degree while I was at Thoms Cook as they paid £250pa on top of my salary which was £800pa. I did it 3 years later and NatWest Bank paid £150 for passing part 1 and £250 for passing part 2! It took me 7 years to complete the degree part time during which time I got married, bought a house and had a daughter, a few distractions!
Another aspect of 6th form that I really enjoyed was current affairs and the debates in Room 13 on Friday afternoons. I found it developed an ability to think on your feet, then prepare your thoughts, not to fear saying what you believed in and mostly, it gave me the nerve to stand up and speak in public. I have had to do so many times, some more successful than others!
At the August 2021 Reunion we chatted about former pupils and Ian Allwork was mentioned. He was a bright, loner who was often bullied. I would really like to apologise to him for this, if anyone knows of his whereabouts.
LIFE AFTER THE TECH
I left school and left home within a few weeks in the summer of ’68 and moved to Romford (Essex in those days, now in Havering) where I was born, and lived with my aunt and grandmother. Looking back, I realise now I was very eager to get away from my father.
In September 1968 I started work in the Foreign Exchange Dept of Thoms Cook Head Office in Berkeley Square London and was, again, travelling daily by train and Underground. A few weeks in and I was moved to the branch office in Fleet Street where I quickly got to learn about foreign currencies for travel and paying accounts for foreign invoices. We dealt with lots of journalists and travel writers particularly from the Express, the Mail and the Telegraph. Also, we issued over 90% of all the bank drafts issued worldwide by the firm because we dealt with a firm called William Dawson and Co. in Covent Garden. Their business was securing books from publishers worldwide for any university worldwide. All the invoices were settled by bank drafts written in our office, hence I learnt to write in French, and German and drafts were expressed in Francs, Deutschmarks, Dollars, Kroner and lots more.
This experience stood me in good stead as I learned how foreign settlements were made, how the Bank of England Exchange Control worked and how the government of the day relied on journalists to get information back to the UK, particularly as this was the era of Ian Smith and UDI in Rhodesia.
I met the lady who has now been my wife for more than 48 years during this time and in 1971 left Cook’s and moved back to Somerset with her and her family. We married in Frome in 1973.
My banking career started in 1971 in Warminster and progressed to Salisbury in 1974, Exeter in 1980, Honiton in 1983 and finally to Barnstaple in 1989. The bank changed significantly in that time and by 1996 it was looking like ‘dead men’s shoes’ with promotion opportunities evaporating at every turn. I was then 46 and not prepared for 14 more years of boredom and frustration living in a place we didn’t really like, and 300 miles from ageing parents in Kent. I applied for and was granted one of the last generous redundancies and set about forging a new career.
In Honiton I had worked closely with a school bursar and in North Devon it was a GP Practice Manager who opened my eyes to another career that had attractions.
On redundancy I set out to be one or the other and there were many more GP Practices than independent schools. Over the next 9 months I had 10 interviews and was runner up 7 times until I was appointed to Elm Hayes Surgery in Paulton Somerset in March 1997. Had I not been runner up, I could have ended up in Reading, Ipswich, Birmingham, Plymouth, Weston Super Mare or even Middleton in Teesdale! My daughter was already at university and my son was just finishing GCSEs. We were free to live wherever work took me.
The job-hunting episode was quite a shock to the system having been cocooned in the Bank for 25 years. In that 9-month period I drove 22000 miles and my network of contacts numbered nearly 100. In the first month I also put myself through a training course to learn MS Word, Access and Excel and bought my first home PC.
Two years into my new career I was getting bored with too many mundane tasks so I asked my GPs to let me go part time (0.5), use the salary released to employ someone on a lower rate for more hours to do the jobs I didn’t want to do, and I took on a second practice.
Two more years later I was with one of my GPs at a conference and was approached by another GP to help them and this led to me setting up a consultancy alongside 2 part time posts. Over the next 8 years I helped about 40 practices with all manner of business-related advice. Sometimes just a half day project but others I helped on a regular monthly basis for longer periods. Hugely rewarding and very satisfying.
I worked much longer hours as a Practice Manager than I did in the Bank but I was also much better paid and I never once regretted taking redundancy.
I retired in 2009 on my 60th birthday.
In 2023 my wife Val and I will celebrate our Golden Wedding. Patrick Ashton was best man at our wedding and I am pleased that we have stayed in touch throughout.
We have a daughter, Amanda, born in 1976. She is married to Jim and they live in Hobart Tasmania with our grandsons Oscar 11 and Elliott 9. We also had a son, Peter, born in 1980. Very sadly we are approaching the 10th anniversary of his death at age 31. He had brain cancer and survived 6 years during which time he graduated from Plymouth and got married but there were no children. There is still a big hole in our lives as you might imagine.
Tim Giles 1961 - 66
TIM GILES 1961 - 66
I joined The Tech after the 11+ in 1961, which seems an age away now, as I did not fit into the normal mould of Grammar school like City of Bath or Oldfield Park Boys Secondary School.
The Tech was perfect for me personally and I enjoyed, not only the company of my fellow boys, but also the mix of subjects suited my abilities.
My memories of Bath Tech are generally good and like many others had a great deal of respect for Bill Hayman (a sensible forward thinking man).
Again like many others had the pleasure of the cane from Greaser Naylor …3 times 1. Jumping on a chair in an English break and went straight through it!
2. Shouting at Harry Mower in Westgate St. something along the lines of he was a w***er! 3. Being a CND supporter and spreading rebellious messages throughout the school and wearing a CND badge.
My dad went to see Naylor and threatened to punch his lights out if he did it again….but I was a good boy for the last year 1965/66.
I enjoyed rugby and generally was landed at no 15 because of my kicking ability and the fact no one else wanted to be a Full Back.
Great memories of playing for the school with Richard (Tank) Lanham, Doug (Enry) Humphries, Johan Santer, now sadly not with us, Andre Patla who now lives in Sydney Australia, Viv Francis, Roger Treasure, Paul Lye and so many more!
I didn’t like cricket that much but was strangely good at it being a Leftie batter and a fast bowler…preferred athletics and represented N E Somerset in the 70 yards hurdles, 100 yards sprint and the 220.
My favourite subjects were Physics, Chemistry and Biology of which I achieved grade 1 ‘O’ Levels in all three. My worst subjects were probably French and Maths. I enjoyed English because we all had a crush on Mrs. Williams who again is no longer with us but her husband Mike the Chemistry teacher is still around. Oddly I enjoyed school dinners especially the stew and the pink custard…how sad is that!
The highlight of most days was waiting for the grammar school girls to pass by our school on their bus at the end of the day and wave or try and chat them up!
As Doug Humphries mentioned during the school years we helped out at the Pavilion on a Monday night. We had the pleasure of taking drinks to the groups backstage which was an amazing experience to meet The Who, Rolling Stones, Cilla Black and even the early days of the Beatles to name just a few. I still have autographs of many of these groups.
LIFE AFTER THE TECH
I left in 1966 as the sixth form was not for me but I wanted to pursue a career in oil exploration but that didn’t work out financially for my family so started work in a travel agency in Bath Park Travel as an apprentice. Within a month they sent me on what we called ‘Educationals’ to Holland and then a few months after Italy and then it became a regular occurrence to travel abroad to learn about travel and get paid for it…amazing.
I worked in Bath for around 3 years then was promoted to a managerial position in Surrey followed by a 4 - 5 years stint in Devon based in Torquay and Exeter supervising 12 travel outlets and became one of the companies youngest Directors.
In 1981 my brother, who worked for the same travel company, and I decide to take out a bank loan and open our very own travel agency in Bath …World Market Travel which from the outset was an amazing success achieving a £1m sales in the first year of trading. We won many awards and accolades and created an enviable multi million pound business. Times were challenging towards the end - we had to survive the Gulf War; 9/11 attacks and epidemics like SARS and so on, which all affected people travelling and our revenue.
I have been very lucky and travelled the world including Australia over 50 times, I climbed Kilimanjaro at the age of 60 and flown Concorde at least 5 time, and so much more so my life in travel has been extremely rewarding in many ways.
We sold our business after 30 plus years of trading in Bath in 2014 which was a very sensible move bearing mind what has happened since with the pandemic.
I now live in Bristol and have been married 37 years to my Jacqui and have two children Chloe and Elliott who have given us 3 lovely grandchildren.
I also have a son by a very early relationship who now lives in Brisbane and is a Boarding School head. He has two lovely children my grandson and granddaughter,
I still work a little in my retirement at the age of 71, offering advice and guidance to a travel company called C The World with branches in Bath, Bristol and Thornbury and enjoy the interaction with people.
Meeting with Past pupils
I have met up with Andre Patla and Derek (Zulu) Allington in Australia a number of times. However, because of moving around this country and abroad, I lost touch with many good friends like Jan Langford, Roger Treasure, Viv Francis, Reg Minton, Paul Lye and so on. That is why this Life after Tech is so interesting enabling us to re kindle our friendships and school days.