Old Photos Come to Light

Clarendon School

By Mike Simpson

Pupils from Clarendon School
Teachers from Clarendon School
Trip to Neustad

My time living in Gosforth Lane South Oxhey stretched from 1952 – 1970, during which time I attended Little Furze and Clarendon Schools. While attending to a long held promise to myself to sort out the many photos that have laid dormant since time immemorial, I came across the following which I thought I would share with the Our Oxhey readership in the hope that it may jog a few memories and help to fill in a few gaps in my own.

Fellow class mates

The first is a Clarendon class photo taken in the early sixties. As far as I can recall my fellow class mates are as follows: Back roe L-R:-?, Tony White, Bill Brown, Vernon Dukes, Peter French, Alan McDonald, Ian McKinnon, Gordon Parsons. Middle row:- Pete Stevens, ?, Bob Cox, ?,?,Susanne Faleur, ?,Carol Langton, Audry Furby, very geeky looking me!, Denis Gates, Tony O’ Callaghan. Front row L-R:- ?,?,Susan Bell,?, Finola Vivante(?), ?,?,?,?,Barbara Baton. Obviously the girls had not come onto my radar ay that tender age!!

Clarendon teachers

The second picture shows a group of Clarendon teachers, but in what year and why I should have this picture I do not know. The services of John and Peter Swain might be able to help with the identification.

Trip to Neustad

The third picture shows a trip to Neustad Germany, again in the early sixties, organised by the fondly remembered Mr Bailey (German and Tech Drawing). My recall is a bit dim here as the age groups are spread out, but lurking in the background is yours truly (looking less geeky in the shades), Jim Speller with hat and Mr Methvin (History). I believe the boy offering the thumbs up is Freddy Fletcher. Mine host and hostess are to the far right. Mine host is particularly remembered for having lost one of his legs in the war, and driving us around in his car in a similar way to the ME109 he flew during the war!!

I hope these will jog a few memories, and I look forward reading any notes that ex pupils would care to leave to help fill in some of the gaps.  Mike Simpson 

This page was added on 21/12/2011.

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  • Hello Janet. Thanks for your note. It’s quite amazing how many people have contributed to the trail that we’ve been out of touch with since leaving school. If you’re interested, a book has just been published by David Reidy entitled A History of Clarendon School-South Oxhey and covers the years we were there. David also did a book on the estate titled Poor but Proud. You can obtain them through the Rickmansworth Museum and possibly the Watford Library. I still meet up occasionally with some of the guys from Clarendon namely Ken Laver, Pete French, Ian McKinnon and John Johnson, and annually since the 1970’s I’ve met up with Peter Swain down in Exeter along with Pat Tavaner, Bill Brindle, Tony O’Callaghan and Ken Laver to talk about the old days. Congratulations on becoming a great grandmother.


    By Mike Simpson (17/10/2016)
  • The lady teacher 5th from the left, front row, was Mrs Baker.

    She was a wonderful teacher, I’m surprised no one else mention her.

    She would read out roll call every morning, not with the usual surnames, like Haslett, (me) Burkett, Wilson, Smith, etc. She would use our Christian names, Reg, Peter, David, John, (known as Sam).

    The answers we gave to the roll call were not what you would expect, “the usual, here Mrs Baker“. We would use expressions like, Aye Aye Captain, Och aye the noo. Answer that if given in any other class would have meant a trip to the Gym for the cane, administered over the pummel  horse, by the then headmaster, the flying bat, Mr. Morel. (That man would scare Dracula)

    Mrs Baker invited many of her class to her home in Northwood, I believe her daughters name was Helen.

    Truly a wonderful woman and teacher, I for one will never forget her kindness and advice.

    Reg Haslett.

    Left Clarendon 1955

    By Reg Haslett (30/06/2016)
  • Just came across this site by chance as I was looking up something else for a friend.  Its brought back so many happy memories from my time in South Oxhey 1953-1966.  I remember almost everyone in the photo. I now live in deepest Somerset and became a great granny last Saturday – 4th June.

    By Janet Roberts (now Jones) (07/06/2016)
  • Hi you ’62 leavers out there. You might like to check out on this site CLARENDON SCHOOL-CLASS OF ’62 Mini Reunion when Pete French, Ian McKinnon, Ken Laver, Dave Lawrie, John Johnson and myself had a mini reunion in Watford on May 25th 54 years on! Had a great time reminiscing, with the odd bevvy to facilitate activity in the grey matter!! Go on and say it, ‘a few wrinkles and grey hairs but we haven’t changed a bit’. Mike 

    By Mike Simpson (31/05/2016)
  • Hello Ray .  Which years did you start and leave Clarendon?

    By Susan Waller (nee Davidson) (16/06/2015)
  • Hi, was head boy at Clarendon School and chess champion, very lucky to be recommended to take the offer of a year at Watford Technical College on a pre apprentice course. Then became draughtsman at S.G.Brownd Ltd.

    I did not remember much about my time at school, until a lady in a wheel chair in southern Spain recognised me and talked about our school days.

    Came across this web site by accident find it very interesting,I wonder if any one remembers me?

    By Ray Stroud (16/06/2015)
  • G’day Tony,

    Thanks for the reply and it’s really good to hear from you after all these years and confirmation from your brother that I was not just imagining the events of that evening so many years ago. 

    Please continue to make enquiries regarding Geoff Minter as I would really like to know how he is doing. Not only was he my ‘best man’ when I got married, but he was also my daughter’s god father when she was christened.  

    Len Kerswill arrives ‘down under’ on May 25th for about three weeks holiday. I will mention that we have corresponded and MAYBE we can make some further enquiries on his return. As previously stated I should be returning to the UK either late this year or your spring of 2016.

    Thank you for your interest in me and my quest to trace the illusive GM. Please pass on my best regards to your brother.

    Thanks again and best regards from Geoff Sweetland ‘down under’

    By geoff sweetland (09/05/2015)
  • Hi Geoff. Regarding contact with Geoff Minter. I have spoken to Frank and he last saw GM a while back although he can’t remember when. He thought Geoff was living somewhere around Cassiobury Park.   Frank remembers the “Big ears in the tiddler pot” time. I have a rubbish past memory system and rely on Frank who is an elephant in that respect. Best Wishes. Tony ‘O’

    By Tony O,Callaghan (07/05/2015)
  • Hi Geoff. I’ve been in touch with Tony and sadly he and his brother have not spoken with GM since the 80’s. Tony and Frank send their best wishes. I will copy your above memories and email them to Tony with the suggestion that he joins the trail. Tony is retired down in Devon after a period in the Army and a career as a psychiatric nurse. He is fit and well and currently aims to swim for at least 2 hours every day in the sea. His latest experience found him playing with a seal (or rather the other way round!), till Tony ran out of puff and had to rest on a nearby beach while the seal waited for his return to continue the game!

    Regarding contacting GM; if your really keen to make some headway you might consider contacting the UK’s ‘Daily Mail’ newspaper. They have a Missing and Found section in their Saturday edition and print requests for long lost friends to get in touch. Keith Whittingham has featured in the past where a friend wanted to get in touch with old BT chums. The Mail reporter who deals with the stories is a Monica Porter, (monica.porter@dailymail.co.uk) Good luck. Regards. Mike


    By Mike Simpson (22/04/2015)
  • Thank you Mike. I have a bit of history with both Tony and Francis O. Tony and myself were selected to represent our school (I think Clarendon and not Little Furze) at a trivia competion for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA). As we walked home in the dark, after the competition, I can remember in Embleton Road, (and don’t ask me why) we were in in stitches of laughter. Tony made some nonsensical comment, “Big Ears in a tiddler pot” and we just just laughed and laughed almost to exhaustion. Why do we remember such silly things from all those years ago? I wonder if Tony remembers that evening? Just as an aside I also remember Mrs O, she was a very kind lady and was friends with Geoff Minter’s mum. Actually I should mention in my ramblings that a very good personal friend of mine, Len Kerswill, (formally from South Oxhey and now living in Watford) has done a bit of ‘digging’ for me, as to the wherabouts of Geoff Minter, but has had no luck. Len is the official photographer for Oxhey Jets FC and is visiting us ‘down under’ next month after the football season has ended. Why dont you get down to their next home game (details on the Oxhey Jets website) and say a big g’day. (This is worth 10 gudonyas (good on you’s) and very hard to earn in this modern world in which we live in). All the best and happy Geoff Minter hunting. Geoff Sweetland.

    By geoff sweetland (18/04/2015)
  • Hi Geoff. Just picked up on your note regarding your search for Geoff Minter. I’m still in contact with Tony O’ Callaghan his close neighbour, so I’ll drop Tony an email to see if he has any recent info regarding GM’s whereabouts. If so he can then add to this trail. Cheers.  Mike.

    By Mike Simpson (15/04/2015)
  • Hello Geoff. You probably won’t remember me, though,  as it happens, your name did come up recently when I was talking to Jill Willimott, who you probably remember. Jill and I both sing in the South Oxhey Choir and often talk about Clarendon.

    Your mention of Geoff Minter brought back some happy memories. We used to sit together in Paul Sellars’ art class and shared an offbeat, goonish sense of humour. Geoff was a very talented artist, and the last I heard he was working as an architect, I think. He was in fact Paul Sellars’ star pupil, which reminds me of a very funny story concerning a piece of paper and some railway sleepers which had poor Paul almost tearing his hair out. I’ll finish the story another day.

    As to Geoff’s current whereabouts, I’m afraid I have no idea. The last time I spoke to him was a brief phone call possibly around 1990. Regards, Brian Hicks.

    By Brian Hicks (28/03/2015)
  • I was a pupil at Clarendon School (I left in 1964). Moved from South Oxhey in 1968. I have made extensive enquiries to trace my best buddy of the time Geoff Minter, but to no avail. Geoff is the godfather of my son, but I unfortunately lost contact with him in 1974. I have lived ‘down under’ with my family since 1982 and I would dearly love to contact Geoff in an effort to ‘catch up’ and try to fill in some of the blanks left between 74 and 2015. I am hoping that one of the ex and current South Oxhey residents (and ex Clarendon pupils) can help me with some contact details. Geoff was a year older than me and lived with his parents in Hayling Road opposite the junction with Ashbunham Drive and I think his next door neighbour’s were the Callaghan family (Tony and Francis) both ex Clarendon. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Best regards, Geoff Sweetland. 

    By Geoff Sweetland (26/03/2015)
  • I am very keen to talk to Mrs Waller about Oxhey Wood Junior School as I was a pupil there until 1959. I lived in Caldwell Road.I am just finishing my book about my life and it all started on that council estate.I did ok in the music industry playing my saxophone for Adam and the Ants ,Paul MacCartney and Paul Young then later becoming a tour manager taking famous bands,musicians and celebrities around the world.I would be grateful if  Mrs Waller would contact me ( her name was given to me when I called the school).Thank You 

    By Stephen Farr (11/09/2014)
  • Isn’t this fantastic, remembering our happy school years,I do recognise most of  the names, as you say the girl in the front row far right is not me.If any one remembers me love to chat.Wasn’t school uniform compulsory ?

    By Barbara Birch (31/08/2014)
  • Hi Barbara. I’m still in touch with Peter Swain, Ken Laver, Pat Tavener, Bill Brindle and Tony O Callaghan and we aim to meet up once a year. When mulling over our school days and trying to remember class mates, your name regularly crops up. Are you in the picture? We think that the girl in the front row far right is a Barbara but have a feeling it’s Batten not Birch! Great to hear from you. Mike.

    By Mike Simpson (08/08/2014)
  • Pupils from this photograph, I remember most of them.Vernon Dukes, Carol Langton, Audry Ferby, Denis Gates, Tony O,callaghan, Finola Vivante and Ian Mckinnon does anyone remember me ??Barbara Birch.

    By Barbara Birch (20/07/2014)
  • Hi Rob. Great to have you on board; all we need now is Derek and Ken and we’re ripe for a comeback tour! I still have a drum kit!! If you use the search facility here and put in Eddie Falcon you’ll see a picture of us in all our ‘lurex’ glory – courtesy of Ken of course. I also came across some old photos recently of a trip we made to the coast with our respective girl-friends in the early sixties, in which you were getting up close and friendly with one Kay Watson – bring back any memories? I’ll see about putting them on the web site along with a shot of the original Reverbs – ahhh…memories. Hope life is treating you kindly. Cheers. Mike.

    By Mike Simpson (12/06/2014)
  • Hi Mike, Rob here.  Great days with you Del, Ken and Gary and memories of Clarendon too many to include in this message, but I am still in touch with Jim Brinton and Jenny Macnamara, along with Pam Betts.  Sadly Peter Betts died.  Fortunately Jim is the memory man for pupils at Clarendon.  One thing I do remember is Mr Bailey taking Jim, Pete and me to Southend for the day one Sunday in his old car, and not a thought of impropriety.  Anyway, when I finished my musical career at 26 I ended up playing rugby for St Albans until I was 60, and can still be found on Saturdays muttering something like “not in my day”.  Best regards Mike, Rob Westwood.

    By Robin Westwood (13/03/2014)
  • Hi Garry. Talk about a ‘blast from the past’!! I am indeed one and the same Mike Simpson who played drums along with Derek Cole (lead guitar), Ken Fordham (rythm) and Rob Westwood (base). After you moved we re-invented ourselves with new singer Eddie Ayres as Eddie Falcon and the Four Notes (not quite the same ring to it as Gino Washington etc.!). We did three years on the circuits as part timers with our nearest claim to fame a gig at the Flamingo Club with Georgie Fame and a show with the Mojos at County Hall. Do you remember Val Rathbone, an old flame of yours? Val had a very good friend Joan (who married Indur Bhavnani), and they both came to see us play (on Vals recommendation) at the Benskins Social Club as they were talent scouting for bands to play at their Harrow based church youth club. Indur and Joan became lifelong close friends of ours, and we still reminisce about the Group when we get together. Do you remember meeting Joan? How long were you in the Ram Jam Band? We went to see you play at the Top Rank in Watford in the sixties; do you remember playing there? You went down a storm and we still recall the Group as one of the best at the time. I still have a photo of the old Fournotes, which I will add to the Our Oxhey site for the interest of you and others who might remember us as we played at most of the youth clubs in the area. Great to hear from you. Best regards. Mike.

    By Mike Simpson (23/11/2013)
  • Hi! Is Mike Simpson the same guy who played drums with Lee Davis and the Reverbs? I left South Oxhey and moved to Ipswich where I was a founder member of Gino Washington and the Ram Jam Band.Regards to all,Garry Davis.

    By Garry Davis (08/10/2013)
  • Hi everyone, I remember the good old days at Clarendon. Peter Swain is correct, I am not in this photo and neither is Janet Roberts we were in a different class. I recognize Sheila Braybrook, Finola Vivanti (sorry about spelling), Doreen Morgan, Alan MacDonald, Jeanette Humphries. I also remember Pat Tavener, Chris Simpkins, Veronica Hayden, Dorothy Wise, June Tiley, Ellen Humm, Kay Watson, Christine Ball, Ken Laver, Brian Hicks, Edward Hicks, David Vale, Keith Whittingham, Vincent Burridge (I am sorry if I missed any names). I also remember English lessons with Mr.Sandbatch and reading Call of the Wild and White Fang; Shakespeare’s Henry V was something we read for O Level with Mr Ricketts. Mustn’t forget the lovely Mr. Peter Brooks, I still cannot speak French! What good times. I am still in contact with Janet Roberts (now Jones) and receive the odd email from Veronica Hayden, who now lives in America. Regards to everyone who remembers me.

    By Adrienne Ashmeade (nee Carter) (04/10/2013)
  • Hi my mistake I am fourth from right and Rita is fifth from right looking onto the picture.

    By doreenfeldman (07/05/2013)
  • Hi my name was Doreen Morgan and I am sitting in the front row, fourth from left. Next to me fifth from left is my friend Rita Phillips.

    By Doreen Feldman (07/05/2013)
  • I lived just down from Mike Simpson, remember Freddy Fletcher hitting a six onto the Coles window sill, missed the window by 6 inches. Good on you Fred.

    By Ray Martin (20/04/2013)
  • Hi….I went Clarendon from 1950-57.I was a prefect in my last two years and head girl in my last year.My name then was Wendy Cooke.I remember Mr Stewart…headmaster,Mr Elliot,music,Mr Sandbach English.I loved that school.  Now I live in Western Australia.

    By Wendy Cox (16/03/2013)
  • In the school photo I remember Linda Evans ,Suzanne Fuller,Jeanette Humphreys,Sheila Braybrook,Janet Roberts and Fiona Vivanti.Now put the names to the faces and sorry if I mis spelt any of them. I am not in the photo and neither is my friend Christine Simpkins(Crosswell), who has been a good friend ever since.  I don’t remember what we were doing that day,but Peter Swain isn’t there either. Peter,do you remember?

    By PAT TAVENER (27/09/2012)
  • Good to hear back from you Fred and thank Pat for her best wishes. I recall that you had a younger sister, but I can’t picture Pat in my mind as I think we were too busy doing ‘boys’ things to take notice of younger siblings. Sorry Pat! I vaguely remember the plane crash but not the Cellotape bit? I moved out of Gosforth Lane into my first marital home of Eastbury Road in 1970. We then moved in 1980 to Croxley Green, near Rickmansworth, where we still reside, so still very much in the area. Have you moved very far from the ‘old homestead’? My eldest son lives locally, but we have to travel to Vancouver to see our daughter and grandchild, and we have a younger son in Melbourne. We’re very popular with BA!! Do you and Pat have family? Best regards. Mike Simpson

    By Mike Simpson (11/07/2012)
  • Hi Mike, Sorry about the Corbett’s and Simpson’s, age I suppose, do you remember Mr Corbett father’s Vauxhall Car which impressed all the boys, Pat (sister) is staying with me (lived at Bristol for over 40 years) this Jubilee weekend and insist that I reply to your comments. We remember the Simpson’s as a most generous family especially to me, who at our early age helped us, survive a tender upbringing. Pat asks are you still living in in the area and sends her best wishes. I think after the war we were lucky to be bought up in the Oxhey area and do you recollect the aeroplane crashing on the old golf course with a consignment of cellotape or have I got that wrong? All the Best Fred Fletcher

    By Fred Fletcher (03/06/2012)
  • Hello to you Mr Fred Fletcher. Indeed I am the very Mike Simpson that lived not 4 doors away from you, that was Phil Corbett, but right next door at 232. I still recall walking your dads greyhound(s?) in the woods, and being dragged through the ferns when they caught site of a rabbit!! I trust you are well and that life has treated you kindly. Best regards. Mike.

    By Mike Simpson (11/05/2012)
  • Hello Stephen. Re Susan Bell. I was very sad to read that your mother passed away. Susan is in the front row, third from the left. I remember Susan as a very friendly vivacious person, and I last saw her in the late 60,s while commuting home from Euston to Carpenders Park. Hope this helps. Regards. Mike Simpson.

    By Mike Simpson (11/05/2012)
  • Neustad photo; the boy who has the thumb up is Freddy Fletcher, is the person the family of Simpsons who lived 4 doors from me in Gosforth Lane?

    By Fred Fletcher (24/04/2012)
  • In the form photo the boy 1st left in the back row is Brian Shortland

    By Peter French (13/03/2012)
  • I believe Susan Bell is on the Front Row – Third from the left. I have vague memories of her being in the Brownies at St Martins Church in Muirfield Road at the same time as my sister and myself. I know she had very curly hair which was worn short at that time. I believe she lived further up Muirfield Road on the corner of Muirfield Green, if my memory is correct.

    By Susan Waller (07/03/2012)
  • Hi. I am interested in the photo above of the pupils of Clarendon School I really would love you to tell me which one in that photo is Susan Bell the only reason I am interested is that Susan Bell was my mother sadly, deceased.

    By stephen cropper (15/02/2012)
  • The name Dixine Somerville comes to mind or is it AAADD {Age Associated Attention Deficit Disorder}?

    By Bill Brown (13/02/2012)
  • The photo is pre-Christmas 1960 and may{or may not} include: Peter French, Christine Miller, Veronica Hayden, David Lawrie, Pat Taverner.

    By Bill Brown (13/02/2012)
  • Trip to Neustad. A couple more names… 4th from left…Raymond Collins Boy between boy with stick and boy pointing is Tim Whittle. Cheers Bob Willis

    By Bob Willis (05/02/2012)
  • Hey everyone I have lived in South Oxhey in Gosforth lane all my life and my dad Stephen May went to Clarendon though he was born in 1952, but what I’m trying to say is I wish I could have seen South Oxhey in its prime as you guys say it was.

    By Stuart May (23/01/2012)
  • Re: Staff Photograph – A few more names!

    Back Row – RA Davis – AJ Nelson – CM Reeve – NM Greenwell – ? – R Elliot – F Brown – ? – R Wilson – A Shaw

    Middle Row – ? – KC Ralph – CK Maun – D Spraken – PJ Kemp – R Oliver – Mr Sanbach – ?

    Front Row – G Chatfield – J Pulsford – J Elliot – ? – ? – ? – LW Stewart – J Sanbach – E Cook – J Lewis – J Burchall

    By Sue Waller (18/01/2012)
  • Staff photo - I think this was taken in 1955. The only faces I recognise are: BR 2nd left Mr Nelson (PE); 4th left Mr Greenwell (Woodwork);6th left Mr Elliott (Music) Mr Brown (Biology); far right Mr Shaw (Maths): MR 2nd right Mr Sandbatch (English); FR 2 right Miss Lewis (Domestic Science) 5th right Mr Stewart. Class photo – Brian you are right re Adrienne Carter but the girl you identify as Sheila B is definitely Carol Langton.

    By Peter Swain (17/01/2012)
  • The top picture was a different form from the one I was in but many of the faces are familiar nonetheless. Top left is Brian Shortland and in the middle row is Tom Marsh (well spotted Peter Swain). However, the first two girls on the left of the front row I originally thought were Christine Lewerton and Carol Mott with Sheila Braybrook in the middle row (fifth from right?). Adrienne Carter I am fairly sure wouldn’t have been in this form picture and I think she wore glasses anyway. The middle picture of teachers has me puzzled and I agree with John Swain that is pre-dates the picture above it. However, I think I can recognise Mr. Sandbatch (middle row second from right). He taught us English Literature from his lofty perch in Carpender block, introducing us to the delights of Shakespeare (Henry V) and Jack London (Call of the Wild and White Fang).

    By brian hicks (13/01/2012)
  • To fill in a few blanks in the class picture:- Middle: Tom Marsh (next to P Stevens); Linda Evans – who I think died in a car accident around the time of this picture – next to S Falleur; Adrienne Carter (?); Front: 2nd left, Sheila Braybrooke; 4th left, Jeanette Humphrey; next to F Vivante, Rita Phillips; Doreen Morgan. Sorry about the rest…

    By Peter Swain (04/01/2012)
  • Hi Mike. The only assistance I can offer is that the staff photo was probably taken as early as 1954/55 and it appears on the Clarendon School section of Friends Reunited, where it was uploaded by Mo Mills. There is a full list of the staff members in a caption beneath the image. The school was then little more than half the size it was to become (nearly 1100 in 1960/1) in later years, during your time (1957-62). Hope to see ye again at the launch of David Reidy’s massive tome (388pp) on the History of South Oxhey, sometime in the spring 2012. In the meantime, Beannachtai ne Feile (Season’s Greetings). John.

    By John Swain (23/12/2011)